Already reeling under the impact of severe shortage of maize to feed broilers, the poultry sector is now combating what it terms a “misleading” campaign against consumption of chicken on social media platforms.
The arguments put forward by the Karnataka Poultry Farmers and Breeders Association (KPFBA) to bust the “myths” of poultry consumption have found support from poultry science experts.
Reacting to the campaign through videos on social media that caution people against broilers, holding the consumption of “antibiotic” and “hormone” injected birds responsible for a variety of side-effects including obesity, early puberty, and development of anti-microbial resistance, KPFBA president K.S. Akhilesh Babu said that antibiotics are not administered indiscriminately in the poultry sector.
Antibiotics are administered only for therapeutic purposes and only after prescription by registered veterinarians, he said while dismissing reports of “hormone” injection as “patently false”.
“The cost of hormones is costlier than the bird itself. Already, the cost of production is so high, why will anybody increase the cost by adding hormones?” he asked.
The growth of broiler to its full size in 40 days has been attributed to scientific rearing methodologies with the assistance of feed formulations and efficient management practices. “Today, the birds are growing faster than their ancestors on account of advanced technology in poultry rearing,” Mr. Babu said.
Endorsing the contentions made by KPFBA, retired professor and Head, Department of Poultry Science, University of Agricultural Sciences, Bengaluru, G. Deve Gowda told The Hindu that there is no reason to fear that consumption of broilers will lead to obesity. “For, there is practically no carbohydrate in the chicken meat. It contains purely protein, vitamins and minerals. It is a rich package of all nutrients,” he said.
There could be reasons to fear about early puberty and obesity only if hormones are used, Prof. Gowda said.
However, the poultry industry, which has already voiced its protest against the recent notification issued by the Government of India’s Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying on the size of the cages or enclosures for breeding of birds in the poultry sector, does not foresee any threat to consumption of broiler chicken.