H5N1 outbreak in Kelantan: Breeders impatient for go-ahead

SULAIMAN JAAFAR


QUAIL breeder Che Hamid Che Hassan from Kampung Tempoyak, Pasir Mas, who lost 15,000 birds valued at RM22,000 recently due to avian flu H5N1 is eager to resume his business.

Hamid said he was informed by friends that the Veterinary Services Department (DVS) had completed its culling exercise of birds at all locations affected by the virus and hoped that the department would contact him and other breeders to say when they could resume their businesses.

“We have been badly hit by the outbreak and I can’t wait to resume business as it is the only work I am good at. My four workers and I have had no income for the past month after closing down the farm because of the infection.

“However, I understand that we cannot start breeding the birds immediately as we have to wait for at least a month to ensure there are no new cases. But, we can start cleaning the farm, which has been left unattended since the incident.”

More than 3,000 quails bred by Hamid died from H5N1 over a 10-day period in mid-February while the rest were culled to prevent the disease from spreading.

Hamid hoped the department would speed up the compensation for the culled birds to enable him to buy new quails and other items to resume business.

“If possible, we hope the government will extend some form of assistance to us as we are starting our businesses anew,” he said.

Duck breeder Mohd Hakimi Azrul Mohd Zaki, 20, from Bunut Susu, Pasir Mas, said his father contacted the department yesterday and was informed about the end of culling.

He said the family had lost more than RM200,000 after 7,000 ducks bred for their eggs were culled.

“My two brothers and I in the duck-breeding project have been helping our father with padi-planting since the birds were infected with H5N1. We want to go back to breeding ducks for their eggs as soon as possible as it is lucrative.

“However, the compensation offered by the authorities is too little for us to restart our venture. We have written to the DVS to consider increasing the financial assistance,” he said.

The DVS in a statement yesterday said it had completed 100 per cent culling at 36 locations in six districts affected by avian flu in Kelantan.

The districts involved were Kota Baru (15 locations), Pasir Mas (6), Tumpat (5), Tanah Merah (1), Bachok (6) and Pasir Puteh (3).

The department said, a total of 56,953 birds had been culled and 17,531 eggs had been destroyed as of Saturday.


Quail breeder Che Hamid Che Hassan looking at his farm which was quarantined last month in Bunut Susu, Pasir Mas. PIC BY SYAMSI SUHAIMI