Bird flu hits poultry research

The recent bird flu in Odisha seems have taken its toll on poultry research at the Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT).

Following the massive culling exercise launched across poultries in the state, researchers at OUAT said a breed of “coloured” hens developed after 16 years of toil have completely disappeared.

The breed, referred to as ‘Kalinga brown’ was a mixture of broiler and country hens.

“It had taken almost 16 long years to develop the new variety of poultry bird. It may take another 16 years to re-develop it,” said a OUAT researcher, adding that the sale of the new variety had already begun on an experimental basis.

Sources at the OUAT said the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) and other  agencies engaged in the culling exercise had been requested to spare the poultry at the university farm as none of them had been affected by the dreaded avian influenza. But the appeal had fallen into deaf ears.

However, Fisheries and Animal Resources Development officials insisted that they were helpless as the OUAT farm was located within the three kilometer radius of the bird flu epicentre-the poultry farm of the Central Poultry Development Organisation(CPDO) here.

“We feel extremely sorry and hurt over the development. But we had strict instructions from the Centre to follow the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines and cull all the poultry population within three kilometer radius of the bird flu epicentre. The OUAT farm was within the three kilometers radius,” said a senior official.

Over 40,000 poultry birds in the OUAT and the CDPO farms has been culled, including rare varieties of hens bred for research at the CDPO farm.

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