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13.02.2006 General News

Consumers assured of bird-flu free poultry products

By GNA

Tema, Feb. 13, GNA - Ghanaians, especially poultry products consumers were thrown into a state of fear when news of the outbreak of the deadly bird flu disease known as Avian Influenza in Northern Nigeria was carried in the media during the past week. Some poultry farmers in the Tema Municipality have, however, assured the general public of the safety of their products due to the measures put in place by the Veterinary Service and the farms in respect of the disease.

An official of Afariwaa Farms told reporters that, apart from the sensitisation programme the Veterinary Service had provided, management of the farm had also educated the workers on the symptoms of the disease.

The official assured its customers that, to add to the necessary precautions the Veterinary Service had taken, the farm's animal scientists had also tightened their bio-security, which included vaccinating the birds against any other livestock disease. Mrs Rose Obeng, Managing Director of Dufie Farms told reporters that, a day old to 20 weeks old chicks of the eight thousand poultry the farm had were all vaccinated against such livestock diseases and said there was therefore no cause for alarm.

She said management of the Dufie Farms was ready to destroy all of its livestock should tests show that there was an outbreak of the bird flu among its birds since that would be in the public interest. On the issue of importation of poultry products into the country due to the lack of adequate supply by poultry farms in the country, Mrs Obeng stated that, loans and subsidies should be made available to poultry farmers to help increase their products, saying that animal diseases such as the bird flu could be transferred to consumers through these imports as one might not be sure of the safety of the product. On the precautions put in place by the Veterinary Service, she emphasized that even though they were educating the farmers through the media, that was not enough as only a few of them listened to the radio or bought newspapers.

She urged the Veterinary Service to organize seminars and symposiums to properly educate the owners of the farms as well as the workers as to what to look out for and how to handle the situation should one experience its symptoms among the birds. Mrs Obeng further called on the public veterinarians to pay regular visits to the farms in Tema and examine the animals and deliver first hand information to farm workers on the bird flu.

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