Live Poultry Stores Face Forced Closure

RIYADH - Municipal authorities are to shut down all 385 stores that slaughter live poultry in Riyadh as a precautionary measure to contain the spread of bird flu and other diseases, an official from the municipality announced yesterday.
calendar icon 12 June 2007
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Soliman Al-Buthi, general manager of the Directorate General of the Environmental Health Department in the Riyadh Municipality, said the decision would be implemented on July 26.

“All live poultry outlets will be shut down starting from this date,” he told Arab News, adding that in the past few weeks the municipality has already stopped issuing licenses to set up live poultry stores. He added that live poultry shops would be given an ultimatum to close their businesses before the specified date or face forced closure.

The measures are part of necessary precautions being taken through a joint decision made by the Riyadh Municipality, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Health to stop the spread of bird flu in the capital.

“The Ministry of Agriculture receives reports on bird flu, while our role is to determine the location of the report in the city. The Ministry of Health’s role is to later take samples,” said Al-Buthi.

Live poultry stores are used by those who wish to purchase fresh chicken that has been slaughtered in front of them in the Islamic way. The stores give customers the opportunity of choosing the size and shape of chickens before slaughtering.

The official noted that the municipality has brought together teams from all of the municipality’s 14 branches to inspect the 385 live poultry stores operating in the capital. The teams were tasked with the job of looking for bird flu symptoms as well as to record cases of dead poultry and obtain samples for research. “The inspections were made three times a day: morning, afternoon and evening, including during the weekends,” said Al-Buthi.

In addition to the health conditions of the birds, inspection teams took note of health violations by sellers, the cleanliness of cages, the hygienic environment and whether sellers were in possession of licenses or not. Al-Buthi said that following inspections all of the stores produced negative results and that the decision to close stores was a precautionary one.

Source: Arab News

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