via Don’t feed chickens with ARVs, warns NAC | The Herald March 4, 2015
The National Aids Council has warned poultry farmers against using anti-retroviral drugs to fast-track the growth of their chickens as doing so has a long term effects on consumers.
Investigations have shown that several small-scale poultry producers in the country are mixing ARVs and chicken feed to fast-track the growth of the birds for quick sale.
A single dose of any ARV type was being mixed with feeds such as starter mash and growers mash.
The broiler keepers said the ARVs help their birds reach maturity stage at least two weeks earlier.
“The idea is to fast track the growth of our produce for a quick sale and its working well. Instead of waiting for six to seven weeks, which is the normal maturity period, my chicks mature at five weeks,” said one of the farmers who declined to be identified.
He said ARVs have an effect of triggering the chickens’ appetite
NAC monitoring and evaluation manager Mr Amon Mpofu said people consuming ARV induced chickens are in danger of developing cancerous cells.
“ARVs are meant to suppress HIV virus in human beings not in chicken, so obviously there are negative effects to any person who takes such chickens,” said Mr Mpofu.
“The fact that such chickens grow faster than those grown in a normal way can cause people to develop cancerous cells. If the mixture of ARVs and chicken feeds is capable of making the chickens grow faster, the similar effects could occur to the consumer.”
He said his organisation has not made any case study to fully establish all the side effects associated with eating ARV fed chickens.
The National Cancers Alliance of Zimbabwe (NCAZ) has indicated that any element causing acceleration of growth cells has high chances of causing cancer.
“The increased growth rate of any living organism has an effect of multiplying cells. If these chickens are growing abnormally after taking the mixture of stock feeds and ARVs, they fit in the same categories with GMOs,” said Dr Nelson Ngwaru, the executive director of NCAZ.