On October 13, 2023, the World Organization for Animal Health has approved India's self-declaration of freedom of India's poultry industry from highly pathogenic avian influenza.
This achievement is a testament to India's commitment towards maintaining high standards of animal health and biosecurity.
Acceptance of Indian Self-Declaration by the WOAH:
- The Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Government of India has self-declared freedom from highly pathogenic avian influenza in 26 poultry areas to the World Organization for Animal Health.
- On October 13, 2023, on the occasion of World Egg Day, the World Organization for Animal Health approved this self-declaration of India.
Avian Influenza in India:
- Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) is commonly known as bird flu. It was first found in India in February 2006 in Maharashtra.
- Since then, outbreaks of highly pathogenic and contagious avian influenza have been occurring year after year in different areas of the country. This has caused a lot of economic loss.
- This disease has been found in 24 states and union territories. This has resulted in the culling of more than 9 million birds to control the spread of avian influenza.
Control of Avian Influenza:
- India's approach to controlling highly pathogenic avian influenza follows the policy of 'detect and kill' outlined in the National Action Plan for Prevention, Control and Containment of Avian Influenza (Revised - 2021).
- This comprehensive process includes the destruction of infected and destitute animals, eggs, feed, waste and other contaminated materials.
- It is important to note here that vaccination against highly pathogenic avian influenza is not permitted in India.
What is avian influenza?
- Avian influenza is a highly contagious disease that affects many species of domesticated birds and wild birds, including food-producing birds.
- This virus, called influenza A or type A virus, is usually found in birds, but can sometimes infect many other mammals, including humans. When it infects humans it is called influenza.
Classification: A major control measure:
- India has adopted a comprehensive approach to reduce the risks associated with highly pathogenic avian influenza by adopting the concept of poultry classification.
- Classification is an important measure that enhances animal health, reducing the risk of disease spread within and outside the area. It facilitates trade of poultry and poultry related products.
Poultry Sector of India:
- Poultry sector is developed mainly in four states of India, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
- This recognition by the World Organization for Animal Health reflects India's commitment to international biosafety standards.
- It will significantly contribute to enhancing the export potential of Indian poultry and poultry products including meat and eggs.
- India is the third largest producer of eggs (129.60 billion) and fifth largest producer of poultry meat (4470000 tonnes) globally. The country is now ready to take advantage of this achievement.
What benefit will India get from this?
- India exported poultry and poultry products to 64 countries during the financial year 2022-23. This generated revenue of US$ 134000000.
- The approval of this self-declaration is expected to create new opportunities for Indian poultry in the global market, which will contribute significantly to the economic growth of the country.
- The expansion of the Indian poultry sector will increase employment on a large scale, and ultimately boost our economy.
World Organization for Animal Health:
- The headquarters of the World Animal Health Organization is located in Paris (France).
- The World Organization for Animal Health is an intergovernmental organization responsible for improving the status of animal health around the world.
- It has been recognized by the World Trade Organization as a reference organization.
- Till the year 2018, a total of 182 member countries were included in this organization. India is its member.