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De facto Agriculture Ministry: Gaza blockade killing livestock

Nov. 20, 2008 12:23 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 20, 2008 12:23 P.M.)
Gaza - Ma'an - The Gaza Strip's de facto Ministry of Agriculture warned on Thursday that the ongoing Israeli blockade could cause "a real food disaster" as the absence of feed and fuel starves farm animals, according to a statement.

The ministry's assistant undersecretary, Ibrahim Al-Qidrah, wrote in a statement received by Ma'an that "owners of such farms will sustain heavy losses if natural gas and feed are not shipped into Gaza."

Al-Qidrah also noted that newly hatched chicks "cannot survive cold weather," predicting that poultry farms would be the first to go as fuel runs dry. Warming uses 150 tons of natural gas per month, aside from basic caring and feeding on the farms.

Owners of incubators and poultry farms were forced to euthanize hundreds of thousands of chicks faced with the ongoing fuel and feed depletion since Israel's near-total closure of the Gaza Strip, which is now entering its 17th day.

"Another two million eggs will be destroyed if the situation continues," the agriculture minister warned.

He said that "such depletion will cause shortages in white meat available at local markets," adding that the increased demand would raise prices, as well.

Red meat has also become scarce since the Israeli blockade began over two weeks ago.
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