New Delhi: The Union Minister for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Giriraj Singh, has allayed fears that the coronavirus (COVID-19) 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 other forums, Singh said that there is no risk in eating non-vegetarian food.
Addressing the media here today, Singh and the MoS (Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying), Sanjeev Kumar Balyan, said that messages are spreading through the social, print and electronic media stating that consumption of eggs and chicken meat may spread coronavirus infection to the humans.
Singh said that these messages create panic amongst the poultry farmers, industries and consumers and 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.
Singh stated that 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. He informed that 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, he added.
Singh said that the Department of Animal Husbandry & Dairying and the Department of Fisheries have issued separate advisories to all States and UTs in this regard. He said that so far, it has been noticed that the predominant route of transmission of novel coronavirus appears to be human interaction.
Singh informed that the virus is transmitted from human to human as per the World Organization for Animal Health, though COVID-19 might have an animal source. He added that 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, he informed. Thus the consumption of Indian poultry and poultry products including eggs is safe but general hygiene, however, may be followed, Singh concluded.
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