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BW Businessworld

Corona Virus Spread Has No Relation to Consumption of Poultry: Animal Husbandry Dept.

Amid the spread of COVID-19, a misinformation about orders from the Lucknow District Magistrate (DM) banning the sale of meat has created confusion and panic. BW Businessworld shares clarifications by Giriraj Singh, the Union Minister of Dairy, Livestock and Fisheries, and responses of Commissioner, Department of Animal Husbandry.

Photo Credit : Reuters


BW Businessworld is in possession of a letter from Praveen Malik, Commissioner, Department of Animal Husbandry (DAH), Government of India, where it is made abundantly clear that “Poultry has not been found to be involved in transmission of 2019-nCoV to human so far”.

The question was posed to DAH by Vijay Sardana an agriculture regulatory policy expert and adviser to Poultry Association of India.

Responding to the question seeking clarification on the issue of spread of Covid-19 (disease spread via coronavirus) from production and consumption of livestock, Praveen Malik, Commissioner, DAH said: “This is to clarify that the predominant route of transmission of 2019-nCoV (the technical term used for disease Covid-19) appears to be human to human as per OIE (world animal health organisation), though 2019-nCov may have animal source which is matter of further investigation. Poultry has not been found to be involved in transmission of 2019-nCoV to human so far in report globally. Similar viral outbreaks of corona virus in past or Corona associated common cold had no involvement of poultry or poultry products world over.”

While the consumption of such food items are safe as clarified by various concerned authorities, it is also requested by them to keep the hygiene on top. Probably this may be the reason why Lucknow DM’s order stopping “illegal meat shops” from selling the produce in Lucknow has evoked strong reactions.

What Happened in Lucknow?

Amidst efforts contain the spread of novel corona virus, administrations are taking all kind of steps, issuing directives, taking actions, which may or may not be related or helpful in stopping the spread of corona virus. Take for example the sequence of events that happened in Lucknow, the State capital of Uttar Pradesh. The DM of Lucknow, Abhishek Prakash, held a meeting on March 5 to ‘ensure the preparedness of various civic bodies to control spread of corona virus’. He instructed departments to take measures such as maintaining cleanliness, regular fogging, etc. but to no surprise he also instructed the authorities to ‘stop the illegally operational meat shops’. Later part of the instruction was reported in local media as “instructions to restrict the sale of meat, fish and poultry (chicken) items in open”. But the order was to stop any illegal meat shops.

Taking note of the news, the Union minister of dairy, livestock and fisheries, Giriraj Singh requested Lucknow officer to consult the concerned authorities prior to such decisions. The minister told the news agencies that “I have come to know about Lucknow DM restricting sale of meat in the district, I request the concern officer to consult government of India and Indian Council for Agriculture Research (ICAR) prior to take any such decisions”. Also tweeting from his twitter handle the minister said “There are no evidences of Corona virus spreading from fish, eggs or chicken, beware of rumours. Leaving such food items may lead to lack of protein in body, therefore it is more important to take care of hygiene”. The minister has also shared a request by Joint Secretary of his department OP Chaudhary that ‘consumption of egg, poultry and meat are safe’. The minister then also shared a press release issued by the FSSAI that said that the imported food items were ‘also safe from coronavirus’.

The DM, however, had only given instructions of stopping ‘illegal meat shops’ in the city.

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