There is nation-wide panic in our country as 73 confirmed cases of coronavirus have been reported.

And while, face masks, sanitizers, wet wipes are running out of stock in stores, the poultry industry has taken a hit as rumours suggest that one can get infected with coronavirus by eating meat.

While there is still no concrete evidence to back this theory, people are giving up on eating chicken and mutton as they don’t want to take any risks. 

However, meat eaters have found Kathal or Jackfruit as a viable alternative, thanks to the coronavirus scare across the country.

Kathal prices have skyrocketed from ₹50 per kg to ₹120 per kg where as chicken prices have come down to ₹80 per kg due to decrease in demand. 

People are turning to jackfruit to fulfil their meat cravings. In an interview with NDTV Food, Purnima Srivastava, a local resident whose family enjoys non-vegetarian food on a regular basis said

It is better having a ‘kathal’ biryani instead of mutton biryani. It tastes reasonably good. The only problem is that ‘kathal’ has been sold out in the vegetable market and is difficult to find. 

Poultry business has been affected by the coronavirus so much so that the Poultry Farm Association organized a Chicken Mela in Gorakhpur to clear doubts and misconceptions that birds are carriers of the deadly virus. While speaking to News18, Vineet Singh, head of the Poultry Farm Association said:

In fact, we gave away plateful of chicken dishes for ₹30 to encourage people to savour the delicacies. We cooked one thousand kilograms of chicken for the Mela and the entire stock was sold out

Unfortunately, the Mela wasn’t successful in dispelling the fears about chicken, mutton or fish consumption amid the virus outbreak.

Desi Twitter is also divided on this issue. While some are okay with kathal consumption, others are not so impressed with kathal as an alternative for meat. 

In even sadder cases, live chickens are being killed to avoid spread of coronavirus. In Karnataka, truckloads of chicken were buried alive by a farmer as the demand for meat reduced drastically due to the rumours.