The letter by Dr Yap Him Hoo, director-general of the Agri-food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) ("AVA concerned about bird flu risk, not noise of chickens"; Feb 15), contradicts an earlier statement by Ms Jessica Kwok, AVA group director of the animal management group ("Free-ranging chickens may be culled"; Feb 2), that the authority had received requests to manage the free-ranging chicken population due to noise pollution.
The impression that the AVA took action because of noise was, therefore, not due to various media reports. Rather, it was created by the AVA itself.
With such contradictory statements from two high-profile figures in the AVA, what is the public to believe?
It gives the impression that the AVA's top management is not working as one.
Dr Yap's statement that the chickens were at risk of being exposed to bird flu from migratory birds, as the chickens could catch the disease through direct contact with them or through their droppings, is flawed.
Free-ranging chickens are few in number, compared to the many pigeons, mynahs and crows congregating at public eating places, snatching food and leaving their droppings all over the place.
Doesn't this group of birds pose a greater risk of being carriers of bird flu, should there be an outbreak in Singapore?
It would be more credible for the AVA to come up with long-term measures to solve the pigeon, mynah and crow problems here, instead of culling chickens as a stop-gap measure.
These other birds are not only a health risk, but a noise nuisance as well.
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This article was first published on Feb 16, 2017.
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