Saturday, May 19, 2007

Slaughterhouse takes no precautions

Monday, January 22, 2007
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Despite the recent bird flu outbreaks, it is business as usual in the city-owned poultry storage and slaughtering facility in Rawa Kepiting, East Jakarta.

No protective equipment, such as gloves or special clothing, was seen being worn by workers on the premises when visited by The Jakarta Post on Thursday.

Three dead chickens were lying in front of a chicken coop. Flies flew amid the kretek smoke exhaled by the workers.

The two-hectare complex on Jl. Rawa Kepiting, Jatinegara, Cakung subdistrict, is one of two city-run poultry complexes.

Jakarta Animal Husbandry and Fisheries Agency director Edi Setiarso said the other one was in Ciheang district, Banten.

The Rawa Kepiting complex has 16 enclosures, each of which can accommodate some 1,500 chickens, but only four of them are rented out to four different tenants. Two of these only relocated to the complex in the last two days.

Karno, a tenant, who used to kept his chickens in Bukit Duri, South Jakarta, said most breeders were reluctant to rent space in the complex as it was too far from traditional markets.

However, he moved his business to Rawa Kepiting in 2003 because he had his boss's trucks to transport the chickens so he did not need to worry about extra expense arising from transporting his chickens to the market.

Built in 2001, the complex was intended to accommodate chicken breeders from Matraman and other areas in Jatinegara, as well as its vicinity. Since then, however, it has never had more than five tenants over a period of more than a few weeks.

During the first outbreak of bird flu in the city last year, it had more than 10 tenants at one stage, but most of them left after a couple of weeks, said Karno.

Unlike other chicken wholesalers, whose breeding, storage, and slaughtering facilities are located in residential areas or in the vicinity of a market, Eko, who has been using the facility in Rawa Kepiting for the last four years, said he rents pens there as it is closer to the market to which he supplies his chickens.

"I prefer this place because we slaughter the birds ourselves before we sell them in Cakung market, so the distance doesn't matter," he said.

The bird flu outbreak had affected him as he had to consider how to keep his chickens safe from the virus. The only thing that occurred to him was to continuously keep the cages clean.

Basic precautions such as spraying disinfectant and keeping the cages free of droppings are novel concepts to the workers at Rawa Kepiting. None of them can remember the last time the cages were disinfected.

Adjat Sudrajat, director of the complex, said the administration had tried to relocate chicken breeders to the complex, but of no avail.

"They said that the complex is too far from the market and that the road leading here is in a bad state of disrepair," Adjat explained.

He said that before all poultry breeders could relocate to the complex, it would first have to be renovated.

According to the Jakarta Animal Husbandry and Fisheries Agency, there are more than 700 poultry slaughtering facilities in the city, two-thirds of which are located in Central and East Jakarta.

A gubernatorial regulation was issued Wednesday prohibiting all backyard farming of poultry in residential areas so as to curb the spread of bird flu.

The regulation states, among other things, that all commercial poultry-breeding, storage and slaughtering facilities will be relocated to designated sites that are far removed from residential areas.(02)

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