Use humane methods to cull birds, pleads animal rights group

With thousands of birds to be culled in the northeastern part of the country due to fears of bird flu, an animal rights group has urged the government to use humane methods for the culling.

Animal rights group Humane Society has sent a letter in this connection to Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan and Meghalaya Deputy Chief Minister B.M. Lanong.

"The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), of which India is a member, is the intergovernmental authority responsible for improving animal health worldwide. It has developed standards and procedures for the culling of animals during disease control operations," the group said in a letter.

"These guidelines must be followed in order to ensure that animals do not experience excessive distress, pain or suffering," the group said.

The group suggested use of nitrogen or inert gases or barbiturate injection as first choices for the selective slaughter of the diseased birds.

Around 2,000 poultry birds have died at Williamnagar, the district headquarters of East Garo Hills, 312 km west of Shillong in Meghalaya over the past few weeks. Culling operations were started Thursday.

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