Thursday, February 05, 2004

"Pulau Ubin to be cleared of all Poultry"

Pulau Ubin to be cleared of all Poultry
The Straits Times, 5 February 2004

POULTRY will be removed from all farms and residences in Pulau Ubin by tomorrow to reduce the risk of bird flu affecting Singapore, said the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) yesterday.

AVA had earlier offered to buy poultry from farms and households for between $2 and $10 each.

The Poultry Merchants' Association also met farmers and residents in Pulau Ubin yesterday to purchase their poultry. AVA said that it will remove any remaining stock by tomorrow, and the farming of poultry on the island will be
prohibited untill further notice.

However, farms and residents in Pulau Ubin will be able to keep a few of their existing poultry as pets, but they will have to be caged. There will be penalties for violating this rule.

About 600-700 poultry are kept in Pulau Ubin in four farms and 18 households. Backyard farms in Pulau Ubin do not have proper biosecurity measures in place, and thus there is a risk that poultry might become infected with bird flu through contact with infected wild birds.

It is not cost-effective to biosecure the four farms as installing items such as disinfection tape and fencing will be expensive.

AVA's CEO Ngiam Tong Tau said that these measures were implemented after feedback from countries - including Thailand, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia - showed that avian flu infections had spread mainly through backyard farms in those countries.

He added that Singapore is still free of bird flu, and the measures are to minimise risk to people in Pulau Ubin.

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