Backyard farmers give resistance to AI checks
A gubernatorial decree issued in January requires Jakarta residents to obtain a health certificate for their birds from the Animal Husbandry and Fisheries Agency and to keep poultry away from residential areas.
Despite some success in persuading residents to part ways with their birds, animal husbandry officers realize they are facing an uphill battle. One poultry owner even turned on one of the officers.
“You asked me to kill all my chickens. But not this one, not my goose. No way,” said a resident as he held a knife to the officer’s face during poultry inspections in the area. Even the recent death of a 32-year old man in the area being infected with the H5N1 virus
, does not seem to be convincing enough for residents.
“What more will it take to get people to understand the threat of bird flu and keeping poultry in their yards,” said animal husbandry officer Agus Hidayat, prior to a public education session on bird flu. “Aside from hostility, residents often try to hide their poultry and pet birds.”
Changing people’s mind-sets will not happen overnight and it is not enough simply to rely on the authorities.
“We can take a hard line. But it won’t be enough unless people are willing to make some lifestyle changes,” agency head Edy Setyarto said.