Thousands of dead chickens in Kampong Thom’s Stung Sen town have been found dumped in a local canal, said animal health officials, who are preliminarily ruling out avian flu as a cause of death.
Tan Meng Chhang, chief of the animal health department in Stung Sen, said officials found more than 11,000 chickens that had died over the past 10 days and been left in the canal, raising concerns among farmers downstream that their own flocks could be affected.
“We went to collect the dead chickens along the water to burn and bury them on Monday . . . You can’t throw dead birds into the water or just anywhere like this,” he said.
However, Meng Chhang said, after taking the farm owner’s losses into account, the authorities decided to let him off with a warning.
Thour Kim Ny, an animal health official with the provincial agriculture department, said he believed the illness – characterised by lethargy and gastrointestinal problems – was not avian flu, but rather brought on by a recent cold snap.
“We’ll still take a blood sample to examine at the Pasteur [Institute],” he said.
The farm where the chickens died was a supplier to food giant CP, though local CP branch manager Van Ra denied the company was involved in the dumping, and added that at his own farm, roughly 1,300 chickens had died of similar symptoms.