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Ciptapangan Visitor
Backyard poultry ban in Jakarta
posted by admin on 18/01/07

All backyard poultry in the Indonesian capital Jakarta are to be banned in a bid to stem the deadly bird flu virus, officials have announced.

Four Indonesians have died already this year from the disease and another was recently confirmed as infected.

The governor of Jakarta said the ban, which is voluntary at the moment, would become compulsory in two weeks time.

The ban will cover all domestic birds in the city, including chickens, ducks and pigeons.

But enforcing the policy could prove difficult, the BBC's Lucy Williamson in Jakarta says.

Backyard poultry farming is a long-established tradition in Indonesia as a way to supplement the family income.

There are estimated to be hundreds of thousands of birds in the city.

Jakarta governor Sutiyoso said residents had until the end of the month to "voluntarily eliminate their pet fowls but by consuming it in the proper way... selling them, or destroying them".

He said that from 1 February, "it will be forbidden to keep birds in residential environments".

Poultry owners will be eligible for compensation of around $1.40 per bird, he added.

'Government rules'

Jakarta is the first city to implement such a ban, but eight other provinces are scheduled to follow.

"We have to separate fowl from residential areas," Health Minister Siti Fadilah Supari said.

"That is what we have learnt from Vietnam. That country wiped out bird flu because its people followed the government's rules."

The ban is the latest attempt by officials to stem the bird flu virus, which is now endemic in the country's poultry population.

Concern about the risk to human health has been re-ignited in the past few days with the confirmation of five new human cases of the disease - the first since November.

Indonesia has the highest human death toll from the bird flu virus. The recent four deaths bring to 61 the number of people killed in the country by the disease.

Bird flu has claimed more than 150 lives worldwide since it began ravaging Asian poultry farms in late 2003.

While the vast majority of deaths have been traced back to contact with infected birds, health officials fear the virus could mutate into a form that is easily passed between humans.

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