I posted last week that Indonesia was refraining from giving bird flu virus specimens to the WHO after it had signed an agreement with a private drug company who was using the specimens to make vaccine.

Well, the Indonesian government has now agreed to supply specimens free to the international organization.

The BBC also reports that the Indonesian government’s ban on backyard chickens has been successful.

Backyard chickens are common in Indonesia and also in the Philippines and other SE Asian nations. As the BBC explains:

Domestic chickens and ducks play an important economic role for families across Indonesia. They provide a kind of nutritional safety net for when things get tough, or a way to earn a little extra money.

Each chicken fetches a market price of just over $1. And according to Dr PM Laksono, a sociologist at Indonesia’s Gajah Mada University, for the poorest families, the money from selling poultry or eggs pays for basic costs like school fees.

Indonesia has had over 60 deaths from bird flu. Two of the bird flu deaths were in the capital, Jakarta.

Also mentioned in the article: raising doves.

Not mentioned in the article: Fighting cocks.

The economic loss to SE Asia from culling and dying animals in the bird flu epidemic is huge.

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Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. Her webpage is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket

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