Poultry sector is one of the most organized branches of the
agro based sector of Pakistan. Its growth rate is 10-12% per annum. There are
over 20000 poultry farms spread deep into the rural areas across the country.
40-45% of the total meat consumption is being produced from poultry products.
In poultry farming industries, millions of chickens and other birds are raising,
breeding, and slaughtering to collect their eggs and harvest their meat. But
have you ever think about that how these chickens and birds are raised in the
poultry farming industries?
Poultry are kept all over the world for various reasons. They are one of the
cheapest sources of meat and can be kept by anyone, even in backyards. In Asia
poultry are kept by large commercial farmers for meat or egg production, by
smaller farmers and by households in backyards. Two very important factors that
should be addressed to ensure that you have a healthy flock of chickens are
management and environment. When chickens are healthy they eat less food and
produce more meat and eggs. They are less trouble to look after and less money
is spent on medical costs. A disease can spread rapidly among chickens because
they are usually kept together in a cage or chicken house. They also share the
same food and water bowls, which can spread disease and infections from sick to
healthy chickens. In an intensive system we place a great deal of pressure on
the chickens to grow fast and to lay many eggs. This situation can cause disease
to spread resulting in a lot of damage because of the stress the chicken’s
Spreading of diseases are increasing day by day due to chicken and the reason
behind it the mismanagement of poultry systems in Pakistan. In poultry farming
industries, infectious chickens and healthy chickens both are kept together in a
small battery cage. This can lead in spreading of diseases in healthy chickens
and battery cage are so small that the chickens are unable to stand up or spread
Some of the common diseases are spreading due to chickens are e.coli,
salmonella, diarrhea, rotavirus and Newcastle.
The Newcastle disease is one of the main viruses killing chickens at these
farms. It spreads when the weather changes from summer to winter and is a
contagious disease that affects chickens’ respiratory systems. The virus causes
water to build up in the chicken’s lungs and they become lethargic. Most stop
eating all together.
Dr Amin Soomro, a research officer at the Sindh Vaccine Centre in Karachi, said,
“This disease is spreading from the feed and chicks”. He explained that the
vaccines available to curtail the disease are not up to the standard. Vaccines
are used to prevent the virus from spreading but there is no guarantee that the
vaccines are effective. Sometimes, it prevents the virus and sometimes it
doesn’t. “There are no government laboratories to test the standard and
effectiveness of vaccines,” he said.
When a single chick is infected, it spreads very quickly and farmers can lose
their whole flock in a matter of a few days, causing a huge loss. The virus can
infect a flock within 24 hours. A flock is comprised of between 5,000 and 10,000
Infected chickens should be disposed of properly to avoid the disease from
spreading but poultry farm owners aren’t taking enough care. “Dead chickens
which are not buried can affect an area of up to six kilometres,” he added.
Poultry farm owners often dump the dead chickens in sacks and toss them along
the side of the road. But this irritates people living nearby, because they can
smell the chickens’ bodies.
Dr Soomro told that if a person eats a chicken infected with Newcastle disease,
it won’t affect them directly. The problem is when infected chickens’ bodies are
dumped in open areas. The bacteria pollutes the environment, which can cause
skin diseases, eye problems and breathing problems.
Around 70% of the chickens supplied to Karachi are from poultry farms in Thatta
and Sujawal and the price of chicken in the city has gone up to Rs120 per kg
because of this.
Newcastle disease is not new to Sindh. Recently, peacocks started dying in Thar
because they were also infected.
When the infected chicken are died, the poultry farmers sold the death chickens
in the market just to recover their losses of the farm. These infected and death
chicken cause serious diseases in human.
Government of Pakistan should also focus on this sector because it is also a
part of our economy. Government should take an action against these farmers who
are sold the death chicken in the country, this is an unethical practice in our
Government should develop new research laboratories and research centers in
different areas of Pakistan for testing of chickens before importing chicken
from other countries.