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Sunday, Oct 17, 2021
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Flew Over The Fence

The hush-hush reaction of a few hatcheries may have propelled the spread of bird flu. For the industry, that has already come as a casualty. Updates

Flew Over The Fence
Abhijit Bhatlekar
Flew Over The Fence
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53
It was an eat-chicken-for-your-country campaign, as top officials from the government’s animal husbandry department hosted a press conference to, well, eat chicken—live on camera. But that show of support for India’s Rs 35,000-crore poultry industry didn’t find any takers, as worries over bird flu intensified last week. The armed forces, the railways, the Parliament House canteen and Indian Airlines chickened out of having poultry on their menus; hotels and restaurants soon followed suit.

The official message—that chicken is safe so long as you cook it at over 70 degrees—fell on deaf ears. And India’s poultry industry took a nosedive. As poultry sales plummeted and worries about infected chicken impacted hotel and restaurant businesses nationwide, the government found itself fighting a pandemic of fear. But if reports from ground zero—Navapur tehsil in northern Maharashtra’s Nandurbar district—are to be believed, it is the real health pandemic and its containment that the government should be worrying about more. In the event of more bird flu outbreaks—or...

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