Live chickens still on sale

By KARINDA JAGMOHAN Time of article published Jul 2, 2017

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Durban - It was business as usual for traders at Chatsworth’s popular Bangladesh Market, who said they were not fazed by the government's recent suspension of the sale of live chickens.

The usual hustle and bustle and chicken clucking, synonymous with the market, was very much in evidence when the Sunday Tribune Herald visited on Friday. Trade of the feathery fowls happened from the 10 parked vans at the market’s precinct.

Last week the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries placed a general ban on the sale of live poultry throughout the country after the contagious H5N8 avian flu was found in birds on Mpumalanga farms.

A Bangladesh market merchant, who did not want to be named, said they were given the go-ahead to trade by farmers who gave the assurance there was “nothing to worry about”.

“If there is a problem they will notify us,” the source said.

However, social media panic has been ruffling traders’ feathers.

“A major problem is the fake news on the internet and WhatsApp groups about bird flu in KZN. It has everyone in a frenzy,” said the source.

One message read: “KZN chicken has bird flu. It’s not safe to buy chicken – 90 000 chickens are contaminated. Please do not purchase any. Please send to family and friends urgently.”

Department of Agriculture spokesman Bomikazi Malopo said the messages were false.

“We have spoken to the province’s vets, who confirmed there was no bird flu in KZN.”

Raj Pather, a poultry merchant who supplies many market traders, agreed that media coverage had made people reluctant to buy live chickens.

“We receive information directly from the South African Poultry Association, which told us where the disease surfaced. We also buy birds with permits, so we don't sell anything that's been infected,” he said.

SUNDAY TRIBUNE

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