Researchers believe small-scale poultry farmers could be increasing the risk of avian influenza transmission during outbreaks. The researchers found that backyard producers in Vietnam tended to respond to viral outbreaks by rapidly selling their birds to avoid financial loss. As these birds mingle with others in markets and trading networks, this practice may increase the likelihood of widespread disease transmission.
Lead author Alexis Delabouglise, animal health economist at CIRAD-Agricultural Research for Development, France, explained that millions of households in southeast Asia ran small-scale poultry operations, mostly with fewer than 100 birds. He said the farmers made decisions on a daily basis – often in response to economic incentives – about when and where to sell their flocks. And their decisions could influence disease spread.
“If the price of poultry goes up, farmers might expand their farming activities, which could create more outbreak risk. If there is an outbreak on a neighbouring farm, they might choose to sell their poultry early to avoid their own birds from being infected and to avoid lower prices. And if there is an outbreak on their own farm, the evidence in our study shows that they would be likely to sell their birds early to avoid both monetary loss and epidemiological risk.”
Source: Poultry World