After the most recent outbreak of bird flu in China, hundreds of thousands of ducks were found unfit for consumption. Newly hatched chicks are transported to snake farms where they become food for reptiles.
"This is not the best way for them to end their lives so quickly, but they still were raised as food for people. In any case, they will not live freely on ponds and lakes. So we either have to take them to snake farms or gas them," a farmer said.
Poultry farms suffer huge losses, and selling ducklings to snake farms brings at least a little profit. Those who could not do that, are forced to take the ducklings to incinerators to get rid of the birds, which they can not sell.
To date, H7N9 virus has infected 63 Chinese nationals. The disease has claimed 14 lives so far. The latest victim, a 77-year-old pensioner, died on Sunday. Authorities culled thousands of birds and closed markets selling live poultry in Shanghai and Beijing to reduce the chance of infection.
The losses of poultry farmers across the country, which is the second largest poultry market after the United States, exceeded $1.6 billion. In eastern China, the consumption of poultry meat fell by 50 percent. Local authorities are ready to provide assistance to their farmers, Thus, the government of the city of Ningbo intends to assign $ 3.2 million to local farmers to partially cover the losses. In Anhui Province, poultry farmers will receive additional credit payment and tax benefits.
In the meantime, the situation plays into the hands of snake farmers. "This is bad news for poultry farmers, but very good news for us. Not all failures turn out bad for everyone," a snake farmer said.