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Locals protest as culling begins in Malda


Subhankar Roy,Sougata Mukhopadhyay,CNN-IBN
Dec 18, 2008 at 02:34pm IST

Kolkata: Locals in the Malda district of West Bengal are protesting culling operations in bird flu hit areas. This has increased the potential danger of the disease spreading.

Bird flu has spelt doom for these residents in West Bengal's Malda district. This is the second time in a year that Malda has been hit by the high risk avian flu. Yet culling the infected birds, which is the only way to contain the outbreak, is progressing slowly due to resistance from poultry growers.

"The government must realize that rearing birds is the sole means of our livelihood. How can we part with our birds?" asked Mohammad Ismail, a poultry owner.

Its been several days since the Animal Disease Laboratory in Bhopal confirmed presence of the deadly H5N1 virus in Malda. Yet, only 1500 birds have been culled, due to local resistance.

"There is a lack of awareness about the deadliness of this disease amongst villagers," said NK Shit, the Deputy Director, Animal Resources Development Department, Malda.

The culling operations have already been delayed once due to lack of coordination between animal resources development department in Kolkata and the district administration.

The disease threatens to spread. There are also apprehensions that the virus could mutate and start affecting humans.

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