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Jordanian Poultry Farmers Averse To Culling Domestic Birds

by 5m Editor
5 May 2006, at 12:00am

JORDAN - A government campaign against avian flu has been hampered by some citizens' reluctance to cull their homebred birds, health officials said.

Jordanian Poultry Farmers Averse To Culling Domestic Birds - JORDAN - A government campaign against avian flu has been hampered by some citizens' reluctance to cull their homebred birds, health officials said.

"Although inspectors from the concerned authorities have tried to convince citizens to get rid of homebred poultry, there are still those who raise various kinds of birds in their backyards," said Khalid Abu Rumman, spokesman for a government committee tasked with avian flu prevention.

Late March, four turkeys in the Ajloun governorate, north of the capital, Amman, were found dead of the H5N1 virus. Since then, some 20,000 birds have been culled in affected areas, while public awareness campaigns about the disease have been stepped up.

Because chicken breeding often represents farmers' sole source of income, however, many poultry farmers have expressed reluctance to cull their birds en masse. The ministries of agriculture and health, therefore, have proposed poultry vaccinations as a possible alternative to culling. "We're considering the option of vaccinating homebred poultry", explained Abu Rumman. Last month, the government also announced that farmers would be compensated for their losses.

According to figures from the Ministry of Agriculture, Jordan's poultry farms produce 148,000 tones of chicken meat and 785 million eggs every year. National chicken exports, meanwhile, bring in some US $2.2 million annually.

In mid-April, after three weeks had elapsed without the discovery of any fresh cases of the disease, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Jordan free of avian flu. Since then, chicken prices have returned to pre-crisis levels, with poultry shop owners struggling to meet demand. At current prices, a kilo of chicken costs the equivalent of US $2.1.

Nevertheless, Jordan is still considered "high-risk", and authorities are continuing with prevention measures due to reported cases elsewhere in the region. "Because more avian flu cases are being discovered in neighbouring countries such as Egypt, Iraq and Israel, the WHO has classified Jordan as a high-risk country", explained Abu Rumman.

ThePoultrySite News Desk

5m Editor