"Last week the enforcement officers from Forest Department and Sarawak Forestry Corporation took action against several illegal swiftlet farms in Mukah town district by removing the birds and nest giving reason that the birds should not be reared in shophouses (residential area) as their droppings were unhygienic and posed to health hazard. Besides that, the music plated on loudspeakers to attract the birds was a nuisance to others. There are 1,500 farmers who were operating illegally without the license in the state. Under the state’s Wildlife Protection Rules, swiftlet farming can only be done on agricultural land or in rural areas. The authorities have halted their operation to allow the farmers to dismantle the nests by Dec 31 " Source-The Star October 21.
Sarikei is one of the major player in swiftlet farming. Anyone who has been to our peaceful Sarikei? Every evening, the sky would be darkened with massive group of swiftlets and gradually settled down to bird houses which it varies from shophouses, abandon house or wooden house. Sarikei is offering variety of bird houses to this valuable swiftlets - their bird nests dubbed as White Gold, fetched RM 4000- RM 5000 per kg in the market.
Thus, when Forestry Department’s enforcement team took action in Mukah against the swiftlet farming, it raised lots of sentiment issues. Some are angry with the bird nests were taken and the young hatchlings dead. Nonetheless, some understand that people are concern on whether the bird nest ranching will cause avian flu (moreover with reoccurrence of EV17-Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak), and some worried that the birds’ droppings were unhygienic and posed to health problems. Needless to say, the ‘kiasu” attitude to attract the birds by paying louder music was irritating to local people here.
In this case, there are 2 major issues here, the actions took by the authorities and the swiftlet farming industry. And until the matter is settled, it is not right to say who is right or wrong. Peaceful discussion should lead to amicable solution. I’m sure that the swiftlet farming for its bird nests is a good business venture and its benefits are immeasurable. However there must be proper law and regulation, proper planning and mindset. It is not about blaming the authorities and trying to sympathise with the affected. It is about resolving the concerns of the community and in most cases the majority in the community. What is your say?