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5,000 poultry owners, workers observe fast

M. Gunasekaran

Criticise reports in media on avian flu attack in the State



ATTENTION PLEASE! The fast in Palladam, near Tirupur, on Wednesday, aimed at dispelling apprehension among consumers on chicken consumption. - Photo: M. Balaji

TIRUPUR: Concerned over the decline in the sales of broiler chicken, nearly 5,000 poultry owners and workers on Wednesday observed a fast in Palladam, 16 km from here, in protest against reports in a section of the media on avian flu attack.

The Government and veterinary authorities had categorically denied reports of avian flu attack in the State, they said. They appealed to the public to consume chicken without fear.

The Broiler Coordination Committee president, R. Lakshmanan, leading poultry owners Rukhmangathan of Sabari Hatcheries, K. Kannan of Swathi Group and several other poultry owners, growers and workers participated in the fast.

"It is primarily to express our concern. The sale of chicken has fallen drastically in the State, and is yet to improve. This is mainly because of reports by a section of the media. There is no case of avian flu in the State, and consumers need not worry about it," says Venkatesan, a poultry farmer. He alleged that thousands of workers involved directly and indirectly in the poultry industry were affected because of the reports.

"The farm gate price was around Rs. 30, and it has crashed to Rs. 14. The production cost comes around Rs. 25 a kg. Because of the fall in price, those in the industry are severely affected," he said. The agitators carried placards stressing the importance of eating chicken.

Chicken was high in protein, and the cost very low. Public should go in for more chicken and eggs, as they were healthy, tasty and affordable, they said.

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