Bangladesh High Court orders closure of poultry feed plants

The Bangladesh High Court has ordered the closure of poultry feed plants in the country that use leather waste treated with toxic chemicals.

Photo by Andrea Gantz
Photo by Andrea Gantz

The Bangladesh High Court has ordered the closure of poultry feed plants in the country that use leather waste treated with toxic chemicals.

In 2011, according to a report, the High Court issued similar orders for plant closures, but the orders were reported to have been ignored. The group Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh recently petitioned the court after a national newspaper reported on the continued use of the toxic chemicals despite the court order.

In addition to the plant closures, the High Court issued a rule seeking an explanation of why a notice of contempt of court should not be issued for failure to execute the previous court order.

Secretaries to Industries Ministry, Commerce Ministry, Food Ministry, Health and Family Welfare Ministry, Fisheries and Livestock Ministry, and inspector general of police were asked to respond to the rule within four weeks.

Toxic feed seized and tested in January

In January, two people were jailed for producing 42 tons of the toxic feed, which they then tried to destroy by burning or burying. As a result, law enforcement officials investigated other syndicates suspected of making poultry and fish feed with leather waste from tanneries. Also, the country’s Department of Livestock Services said officials would step up inspections of poultry and livestock feed and take legal action if it finds product of “substandard quality or mixed with antibiotics, hormones or any other element harmful for human health.”

The 42 tons of feed were seized and tested by the Rapid Action Battalion, along with the Department of Livestock Services.

“After the test, we found [the presence of] chromium in the feed which is harmful for humans,” RAB Executive Magistrate Sarwoer Alam said in a report. Humans who consume poultry that were fed the toxic feed may experience health problems including kidney complications and cancer.

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