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Coronavirus scare: Maharashtra farmer dumps ₹5.8-crore worth poultry products after the drop in sales

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A poultry farmer in Dahanu, Maharashtra has destroyed ₹5.8 crore worth poultry products due to lack of demand as the poultry industry in India has witnessed a setback amidst rumours around coronavirus. The news that the deadly disease could be transmitted through white meat spread like wildfire on social media platforms, restraining people from consuming chicken, as per media reports.

Suresh Bhatlekar, owner of 35 poultry farms and three hatcheries in Gujarat, Virar, and Dahanu had dumped 1.75 lakh one-day-old birds and nine lakh hatchery eggs on his Ganjad farm in Dahanu on Monday after fake news spread on the social media that led to a drop in sales. Bhatlekar told Hindustan Times why he destroyed ₹5.8 crore worth poultry products and said: “Due to the losses, my labourers have no work as I have stopped production.”

Coronavirus scare: Maharashtra farmer dumps ₹5.8-crore worth poultry products after the drop in sales
Coronavirus scare: Maharashtra farmer dumps ₹5.8-crore worth poultry products after the drop in sales

Efforts to curb fake news went in vain

Many industry’professionals, lawmakers, and veterinarians had put efforts to curb fake news and reassured people that consumption of meat wouldn’t cause coronavirus. However, the efforts went in vain as India’s poultry sales plummeted by up to 80 per cent, the third-largest producer of eggs and fourth-largest of chickens in the world, Russia Today reported.

State authorities had said that they would be setting up so-called “chicken parties,” where people will be offered to help themselves to dishes with chicken meat.

According to Maharashtra’s Minister of Animal Husbandry, Sunil Kedar cited in India Today: “Poultry products and dishes made out of chicken will be served to people at discounted rates. Also, an awareness campaign about the virus vis-a-vis poultry industry will be carried out.”

The authorities are planning to take action against those who spread the rumour in the first place.

The Poultry Breeding Association in Pune had earlier filed a complaint with police accusing a man from West Bengal of spreading such rumours. Police have taken him into custody, RT reported.

According to G. S. G. Ayyangar, head of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) cited in the Russia Today report: “There is a misconception that coronavirus will spread through chicken, mutton and seafood. There is nothing like that. It is scientifically not proven.”

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