As we approach the Year of the Rooster, social media feeds and Whatsapp group chats were greeted with a photo of a lorry with a Penang licence plate, transporting dead chickens that had gone viral. People accused and condemned farmers for selling the carcasses for human consumption at RM2 each to chicken rice, nasi kandar and other eateries, because why else would anyone buy dead chickens – with their feathers still intact – in bulks?

However, Fisheries Research Institute research officer Chuah Hean Peng was quick to shoot down those baseless claims and accusations. According to him, the carcasses were actually being transported to catfish farms to be made into feed. Farms would sanitise the meat in large pressure cookers before turning it into farm-made feed. This method has been around for decades before commercial feed came into the market.

“Catfish are natural carrion eaters but the Fisheries Department encourages catfish farmers to use commercial pellets instead of cheaper farm-made feed,” Chuah added.