The delicious chickens you are enjoying might have been fattened with anti-retroviral drugs.
The revelations have been discovered in some parts of Zvishavane where unscroplous peasant farmers feed their broilers on ARV drugs apparently to fatten them so that they fetch more money on the market.
Villagers told this reporter that the source of the drugs remains a mystery given the fact that a number of HIV patients are waiting to be initiated on the drugs due to shortages.
They said farmers were adding ARVs to chicken feed to enhance their weight and sell them when three or four weeks old. “I have seen my neighbour adding ARV tablets into chicken feed before giving his chickens. We went to Zvishavane together to buy chicks last month but he is already selling his yet I know they should be four weeks old now. The chickens are very big and overweight,” saidone mole Nhamoinesu Masango
According to some farmers interviewed, a single tablet of any ARV drug type is mixed with feed obtained from stockers and is enough to feed 100 broilers for two days. The special feed is staggered, with the chickens being fed only twice a week, according to the farmers.
A State Registered Nurse who spoke on condition of anonymity said it was possible that ARVs accelerated the growth of poultry, but no expert views on how ARVs would work on the chicken or possible health effects on consumers of the chicken was immediately available.
Efforts to get a comment from National Aids COuncil Chief Executive Officer Dr Tapiwa Magure were not successful the time of writing but Batanai HIV and Aids and Service Organisation(BHASO) director Farai Mahaso said it was disheartening to note that there were some people misusing the drugs.
This is the second time I have heard of such news but it is not fair and as HIV service organisations we are concerned. Investigations should be done and once it is proven, action should be taken against such farmers,” said Mahaso.