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Posted on January 25th, 2008

 Some broiler chicken breeders in Kasama are reportedly mixing feed with Anti-retrial Viral (ARV) and contraceptive drugs to feed their chickens.

Sources who declined to be mentioned told ZANIS that most of the chicken breeders are using the drugs which they are buying from the local drug stores in the area to mix with chicken feed so that they could grow fat and faster.

The sources cited an example of a retired civil servant whom they alleged to have been using the same method of rearing chickens which he later sells at k18, 000 per chicken.

The said chickens were weighing 2.5Kg each saying the growth was abnormal for chickens to be ready in three weeks.

And Kasama District Veterinary Officer Dr.Webby Chibomba confirmed having received such complaints from the general public that some chicken breeders were using ARVs and contraceptives to feed the chickens.

He suspected that the culprits must have some medical background while others are acting out of ignorance.Dr. Chibomba told ZANIS in an interview that last year his office received similar complaints which he later forwarded to Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) in Kasama and recommended for the arrest of the suspect to pave way for investigations but was told to wait.

Up to now no answer has come from DEC.He said his department has no testing laboratories but instead depend on other stakeholders like DEC and health which handle drug abuse offences.

He explained that chicken breeders who are using the said drugs were drugging the consumers illegally saying it was a serious offence according to the laws of Zambia.Dr. Chibomba further explained that the method has serious side effects on human lives because the white cells get impaired thereby affecting the immune system especially in people living with HIV/AIDS as the viruses become resistant to the treatment.

The veterinary officer lamented that it also affects family planning in couples while it might result in impotence in consumers.

He added that it was sad to note that some breeders have even gone to an extent of injecting chickens with penicillin while selling them out.

He expressed worry that this has resulted in disease resistance when one gets sick to respond to the prescribed medicine.

Meanwhile Dr. Chibomba said his department has embarked on an inspection programme which will be conducted on regular basis to ensure that the chickens are fed with right food.

He added that the hindrance to effecting the programme would be lack of transport since the work requires mobility to monitor the growth of chickens.

The Veterinary Officer, however, said the programme is an inter-sectoral programme which needs team work from all line ministries and support from stakeholders as the fight is a noble cause if the culprits are to be fished out.

He has since appealed to the general public not to be buying broiler chickens anyhow or supplement with indigenous chickens which feed mainly on indigenous foods.