Bird Flu strikes again?

You may have noticed a sarkari advertisement doing the rounds on the Indian tele for almost two weeks now. The advertisement shows a sutradhaar along with a chicken puppet urging people to alert the government of any cases of unnatural death of chicken. It did alarm me coz there was no buzz in the newspapers or the news channels about it. Evidently the lesson that the government has learnt from past episodes of Bird Flu and Chicken Guinea cases is to keep mum. Such news obviously affects the Poultry industry, the demand for packaged and ready to use products has been on steady rise in urban sector many of these are chicken based. Big names such as Godrej and Venky’s are associated with the trade, so it’s a matter of millions of rupees.

It’s scary that the Government decided to announce only on 20th March that India too faces the risk of Avian flu. Neighboring Bangladesh has gone for wide-scale culling operations consequent to the spread of the H5N1 virus. I recall that even last time Venky’s people had paid heavilt to the poultry farms to prevent the news of dying livestock reaching the media, there was evident pressure that they had put on the government as well to let the sales of chicken product continue unhindered. Venky’s head also happened to be the president of the National Egg Coordination committee so the Eggs were being sold liberally as well. When the matter subsided a bit bollywood biggies Sanjay Dutt and Sunil Shetty were roped in an expensive ad campaign to preach that everything is well with the poultry.

It’s not difficult to guess that the money hungry companies and an irresponsible government don’t give a damn about the health of its consumers. The only way out for us consumers then is to exercise all the precaution.

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