Chicken Sellers May Quit

CHINA - Poultry traders have said they are considering getting a one-off compensation from the government and quitting the business for good.
calendar icon 18 June 2008
clock icon 3 minute read

China Daily reports that the traders also hinted at a protest during the Olympics if the government did not meet their demand for compensation soon enough.

The Panel on Food Safety and Environmental Hygiene held a special meeting at the Legislative Council on 16 June to discuss the discovery of H5N1 bird flu virus at wet markets last week.

At the meeting, chairman of the Hong Kong Poultry Wholesalers and Retailers Association Steven Wong Wai-chuen said "Everyone in the trade will quit" if the government insists on implementing daily cleansing at markets as they simply cannot bear the loss that the policy will incur.

Although there are still chickens available at local farms, he noted that the chickens will be 'worthless' without the retailers.

"If we [the retailers] quit, the farms will be forced to close down as well," he said.

"The sooner the government gives us the compensation, the sooner we will return the retail licenses and quit," he said, citing he did not want the issue to drag on.

Meanwhile, he hinted that they may protest during the Olympic equestrian events if the issue is still not settled then.

The retailers are asking for a compensation eight times the compensation currently given to vendors who voluntarily surrender their licences.

At the same meeting, representatives of the poultry industry said they have been struggling financially since the sale of live chickens was suspended last Wednesday.

They asked the government to think of a long-term policy for the survival of the trade.

Meanwhile, legislators asked the government to consider giving a one-off compensation to the trade.

Secretary for Food and Health York Chow maintained that daily cleansing, and eventually central slaughtering, are the most effective ways of controlling bird flu in Hong Kong.

"We understand the loss that these measures may incur, but if we don't make changes to the current operation, an outbreak is inevitable," he said.

"Another chicken-culling will be a great blow to the trade and society. We have to consider legislating for daily cleaning," he added.

Mr Chow noted that if the vendors insist on rejecting the daily cleansing policy, the government will consider giving them compensation to end their businesses.

Meantime, he said chickens in local farms may have to be culled since all wet markets have been declared infected areas.

The government is expected to reach a decision this week, he said.

Further Reading

- You can visit the Avian Flu page by clicking here.
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