Authorities in Kompong Thom province said on Wednesday that they had over the past three days sprayed a chemical disinfectant at the Stung Seng City farm—where as many as 12,000 chickens died in recent weeks—and the nearby canal where the carcases were dumped, but said they still don’t know what killed them.
The farm is owned by three Cambodians but is managed by and supplies Thai agro-industry giant Charoen Pokphand (CP).
“We sprayed the chemical to kill the disease at the chicken farm and along the canal where the chickens were dumped,” said Tann Mengchhang, who heads the Agriculture Ministry’s animal health office in Stung Sen City. “Tomorrow, we will take two ducks and two chickens to drink the water in the canal to test it.”
He said a sample from the carcases has been sent to the animal health department in Phnom Penh. According to Mr. Mengchhang, CP has sent its own samples for testing in both Phnom Penh and Thailand but will not share the findings.
A representative for CP declined to comment on Wednesday.
On Monday, the company’s chicken health manager at the farm, Bun Sovannara, said the firm was not responsible for the dead chickens and played no part in dumping the carcasses. He said the farm had only 5,000 chickens, less than the 12,000 claimed by authorities, and that only about 700 had died a few weeks ago from diarrhea and respiratory problems.
Also on Monday, Mr. Mengchhang said local farmers reported that one of the three men who own the farm, Siet Sim, was the one who dumped the dead chickens in the canal.
On Wednesday, he said he heard from Mr. Sim that CP had compensated him $300 but did not know if the other two farm owners had received the same.
Contacted on Wednesday, Mr. Sim denied dumping the chickens into the canal before the phone connection was abruptly cut.
Stung Sen deputy governor Sim Bun Orn said he has instructed local officials to warn farmers against watering their livestock at the canal for the time being.
“I spread the information about this problem on Monday to commune chiefs in the area to not use the water for cows, buffalo and birds,” he said.