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Chicken consumed in Kashmir fed ‘banned’ antibiotics

Srinagar, Feb 11: Each year Kashmir consumes around six crore broiler chicken fed with antibiotics that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has banned.

Colistin Sulphate, an Antibiotic Growth Promoter (AGP), is mixed with the feed given to the chicken that are either transported to the valley or reared in the local poultry farms, sources in the Animal Husbandry department told The Kashmir Monitor.

 

They said the drug was particularly fed to chicken for faster growth and enhanced immunity to diseases.

“The broilers fed with this AGP grow to around 1.5 kilograms or more within a month,” the source said. “There is no regulatory body or government intervention on the ground to keep a check on this practice.”

The WHO has banned such antibiotics, if they are used as growth promoters in consumable animals.

Its use on animals, as such, has been banned in most European and Asian countries including in Nepal, Bangladesh and China.

A January 2018 report by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism sketched a grim picture.

Quoting Timothy Walsh, Professor of Medical Microbiology at Cardiff University, the report said the use of colistin in chicken produced and consumed in India was “complete and utter madness”.

Colistin, as per the study, is the last line of defence to treat critically-ill patients.

Sources said the antibiotic was mostly used in Kashmir, as majority of the poultry farms here are unhygienic, making the chicken more susceptible to various infections.

“There are three steps needed to follow: Management (spacing, temperature, and feed), Bio-security (hygiene of farm and farmer) and Vaccination. But we see poultries farms are not maintained due to which this becomes an only option for them to save chicken from disease,”  a source said.

“Mostly in European Alpine countries, chicken are reared without any kind of antibiotics supplements. Kashmir too resembles with these countries climate wise and could produce better breed of chicken.”

When contacted Assistant Commissioner Food Safety Commissioner Hilal Mir claimed that they haven’t found such ingredients in the samples so far.

“We lifted some samples for laboratory testing earlier but there was not any such ingredient found in it. Still we don’t know what is fed to them as we have no jurisdiction to check it during the time of their rearing,” he said.