Pashu Sandesh, 12 March 2020
The Union Minister for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Giriraj Singh has allayed fears that the Coronavirus can be transmitted from animals to humans or vice versa by being in contact or by consuming eggs, chicken, meat and fish. Refuting rumours circulating in social media and another forum, Giriraj Singh said there is no risk in eating non-vegetarian food.
Addressing the media last Friday Giriraj Singh and the MoS (Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying) Sanjeev Kumar Balyan said messages are spreading through the social, print and electronic media stating that consumption of eggs and chicken meat may spread coronavirus infection to the human being. This kind of message has created panic amongst the poultry farmers, industries and consumers. Because of this misleading information, the sale of eggs and chicken meat has drastically suffered and millions of poor farmers dependent on poultry farming are under threat of losing their livelihood.
Giriraj Singh said more than ten crore farmers are directly involved in poultry farming, animal husbandry and fisheries, contributing more than Rs. 1.2 lakh crore to the GDP. Besides, there are millions of maize and soya farmers, medicines and vaccine manufacturers also involved indirectly with the poultry sector. Hence, any kind of panic related to poultry products consumption will destroy the livelihood of the millions of people. The consumers will also be deprived of the availability of a good source of protein.
Giriraj Singh said the Department of Animal Husbandry & Dairying and the Department of Fisheries have issued separate advisories to all States and UTs in this regard. The Departments continuously keep a vigil on the coronavirus situation in the country and across the world. So far, it has been noticed that the predominant route of transmission of Novel Corona Virus (2019-nCov) appears to be human interaction. The virus is transmitted from human to human as per the World Animal Health Organization (OIE), though 2019-nCov might have an animal source. Poultry has not found to be involved in the transmission of coronavirus to human so far in any report globally. Similar viral outbreaks of coronavirus in the past (SARS 2002-03, MERS 2012-13) or corona associated common cold had no involvement of poultry or poultry products world over. Thus the consumption of Indian poultry and poultry products including eggs is safe. General hygiene, however, may be followed.