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Mass culling for avian influenza: rational strategy or needless destruction?

Sridhar Srikantiah

DOI: 10.20529/IJME.2008.020


Infection by the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) virus strain H5N1 has wrought periodic havoc in several pockets in the country in the last two years, most recently in West Bengal. Millions of domestic fowl potentially infected with the virus have been slaughtered, affecting the livelihood and nutrition of people in thousands of villages and towns, with the intention of saving the rest of the poultry and preventing human infection. No human infection has yet been discovered in India, and this appears to justify the mass culling. But does it, really? How rational is the strategy? Can there be a more humane, less destructive approach which is no less likely to be effective?

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