Hong Kong to reduce chicken population

HONG KONG - Hong Kong will reduce by a third its local chicken population, control imports of live birds and limit new licenses for poultry farms amid bird flu jitters following a new human death from the disease in mainland China , officials said Tuesday.

Hong Kong health officials have introduced new measures to prevent a bird flu outbreak in the territory since a new fatal human infection from the H5N1 strain of the disease was discovered in China 's southern Guangdong province.

Mainland China has suspended the supply of live poultry, including newborn chicks, and pet birds to Hong Kong for three weeks as a preventive measure.

Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department spokesman Donald Lam said the government would reduce Hong Kong 's chicken population to 2 million from 2.8 million by May and will start capping the number of licenses issued for chicken farms.

"Reducing the local chicken population could lower the risk of an avian influenza outbreak and promptly control its spread if an outbreak occurred," the department said in a statement. Hong Kong has 139 chicken farms and the current stock of chickens could last for three months, the government said.

Lam said the government will review the decision to ban imports of newborn chicks, aimed at helping farms gradually reduce their stocks, in two weeks to see if an extension is needed.

Source: Pravda
calendar icon 7 March 2006
clock icon 1 minute read
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