The unsafe disposal of dead broiler birds from many poultry farms in the district is allegedly posing serious health hazards in rural areas. More shocking is that these dead birds are also reportedly sold to roadside eateries in urban areas.
The unhealthy trend came to light recently after the arrest of an eight-member gang involved in the sale of birds that have died of diseases to roadside eateries in Tirupur and Palladam. According to official sources, nearly 20 persons were caught by health officials in 2012 and it sounded an alert for public and officials.
Around 8000 poultry farms are involved in the rearing of broiler birds in the district, in which most of them are run under lease basis. Under the lease basis, these companies would provide chicken, feed, medicine and guidance, while farmers should invest for establishing buildings and for maintenance of the birds. The farmers would get particular percentage as wages for rearing the birds.
“Five or ten birds in a poultry farm, which has a capacity to house 5000 birds, die on an average in a day due to diseases and other causes. After the supervisor from the company verifies the birds, they should be buried using lime powder and soil for allowing it to decompose naturally,” a private poultry employee said.
“Though we insist for having 8x8 feet pit in the poultry farm, a majority of farmers do not follow it. For getting meager income of Rs 5 or Rs 10 for a bird, they sell them to some gangs, who supply it to roadside eateries after cleaning them,” he explained.
Devaraj, a farmer near Palladam said, “Sometimes, particularly during the winter, hundreds of birds will die suddenly due to diseases. As it cannot be sold to those gangs, the birds will be dumped in open space on roadside, mainly in rural areas at night. This leads to severe health hazard to rural population,” he added.
The Joint Director of Animal Husbandry, Tirupur, TM Sivaprakasam, said, “We have instructed all poultry farms to monitor the safe disposal of dead birds and to take serious steps. The routes of dead birds’ transportation have been identified and vigil has been increased.”
OLS Vijay, designated officer, TN Food Safety and Drug Administration, Tirupur district (Food Wing), said, “Following surprise checks in and around Palladam for the past one week, the sale of dead broiler birds has come down.”