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Uniting Food, Farm and Hotel Workers World-Wide

Workers ignored as bird flu advances across Asia

Posted to the IUF website 19-Mar-2006

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In India, where hundreds of thousands of chickens have been culled in the western Indian state of Maharashtra following the appaearance of the H5N1 virus in February, farmers are being offered compensation of Rs 20 to 40 (7-14 US cents, a ludicrously insufficient sum), while no compensation has been offered the thousands of workers now unemployed as farms close. India is the world's second largest producer of eggs and fifth largest broiler producer.

Indian press reports indicate that proper procedures to protect public health and poultry workers are not being employed in the culling operations, and workers on the affected farms are not being systematically screened for exposure.

After an initial news blackout, Burmese state media have now conceded that 10,000 chickens and quail have died of the H5N1 strain of bird flu in the center of the country, where over 41,000 animals have been culled on chicken and quail farms and egg and poultry sales bans have been imposed.

Aftghanistan, Malaysia and Pakistan have now confirmed outbreaks of the deadly H5N1 virus in poultry.