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06BANGKOK4613 AVIAN INFLUENZA AND FIGHTING COCKS IN THAILAND

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“72948”,”7/28/2006 13:31″,”06BANGKOK4613″,

 

“Embassy Bangkok”,”UNCLASSIFIED”,”06BANGKOK4530″,”VZCZCXRO4034

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SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

DEPARTMENT FOR G/AIAG/JLANGE

DEPARTMENT FOR OES/STC/MGOLDBERG AND PBATES

DEPARTMENT FOR OES/PCI ANNE COVINGTON

DEPARTMENT FOR OES/IHA/DSINGER AND NCOMELLA

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FAS/ICD/LAIDIG

DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE FOR OSD/ISA/AP FOR LEW STERN

PARIS FOR FAS/AG MINISTER COUNSELOR/OIE

ROME FOR FAO

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: TBIO, EAGR, KFLU, PGOV, PREL, SOCI, XE

SUBJECT: AVIAN INFLUENZA AND FIGHTING COCKS IN THAILAND

 

REF: BANGKOK 4530

 

BANGKOK 00004613 001.2 OF 002

 

1. In a public address on July 26, Prime Minister Thaksin

said it was imperative that local villagers report unusual

poultry deaths to and register all fighting cocks with

authorities. Thaksin said, \”The case in Phichit (Province)

is that villagers wanted to get rid of all their dead

chickens on their own because they were afraid the

authorities would cull the rest of their birds.\” Referring

to the 17-year-old boy who died earlier in the week,

Thailand\’s first human case of H5N1 avian influenza in more

than eight months, Thaksin said, \”He had been in contact with

fighting cocks, which were not declared for fear they would

be culled by authorities.\” Poultry die-offs have been

occurring in Thailand\’s central and north central provinces

for over a month, but many farmers and householders bury

their dead chickens without informing the authorities, making

it impossible to obtain fresh specimens for laboratory

testing. So far, the only bird that has tested positive for

the H5N1 virus was the carcass of a fighting cock in Phichit

Province.

 

2. Thaksin\’s comments point out a situation that may be

unique to Thailand and that may account for some farmers\’

unwillingness to report poultry deaths. Many households in

Thailand raise fighting cocks, which can be worth thousands

of dollars, along with free-range chickens. Thailand has a

program for compensating farmers for culled chickens, but

working out a method for evaluation and compensation of

fighting cocks is more problematic.

 

3. According to the Ministry of Agriculture and

 

BANGKOK 00004613 002.2 OF 002

 

Cooperatives, Thailand has as estimated one million fighting

cocks, but less than 50,000 are registered. Although

Thailand vaccinates fighting cocks and even issues them

passports with their vaccination records so they can travel,

much of the trade in fighting cocks is illegal, and thus

movement of these birds is often kept hidden. In September

2005, provincial authorities in Kamphaeng Phet, which borders

Phichit Province, blamed a poultry outbreak there on the

clandestine movement of H5N1-infected fighting cocks within

the province. Several of Thailand\’s 2005 reports to the

World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) include fighting

cocks in their description of affected populations in poultry

outbreaks in the central and north central provinces.

 

4. Fighting cocks may play a role in avian influenza across

borders as well. In 2004, in Kota Baru, Malaysia, several

fighting cocks that died of H5N1 infection were thought to

have been smuggled into the country from Thailand.

Indonesia\’s March 10, 2005, report to the OIE of a poultry

outbreak states the source of the outbreak as the \”illegal

movement of animals from neighboring countries (imported

fighting cocks).\”

 

5. Comment: Fighting cocks appear to play some role –

perhaps an important role – in the avian influenza milieu;

more attention should be paid to studying that role, and more

effort should be placed on controlling their movements, but

because of the secretiveness associated with them, that will

be a difficult task.

ARVIZU

 

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Written by thaicables

July 12, 2011 at 5:14 am

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