No Orders to Close Poultry Shops

KUWAIT - It is reported that there have been no official moves to shut live chicken shops, following some reports to that effect last week.
calendar icon 19 September 2011
clock icon 3 minute read

No advisory notice has been issued to the owners of live poultry outlets instructing them to shut down, according to staff at a number of these stores in Salmiya. Kuwait Times reports that although a number of Arabic language papers had reported the closure of some live poultry outlets in Kuwait as a "precautionary measure" to avert the possibility of any spread of the potentially deadly avian flu (bird flu) virus, workers at a number of these stores were adamant that they had received any such official notification.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently issued an international alert on a possible new outbreak of the virus this winter, with the Public Authority for Agricultural Affairs and Fish Resources (PAAAFR) responding by asking the Kuwait Municipality to forcibly shut down all the country's live poultry sellers' outlets.

Instead, the PAAAFR has instructed that all such outlets should be replaced by properly regulated poultry breeding facilities with slaughterhouses on-site. Staff at local live poultry outlets insisted, however, that they have received no official notification of any closure orders.

"We haven't received any advisory from my employer or from the municipality to close down our shop," said one employee at a small live poultry outlet in Maidan Hawally.

There is no news of any bird flu in Kuwait, so why be scared?, asked Kuwait Times.

"I hope they won't do that [shut down the shop]," said the shop worker. He believed that poultry prices could be negatively affected by any bird flu scare. "If ever we were to be closed down, the price would probably be unstable again," he suggested.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, an official at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MCI), which supervises and regulates all commercial establishments, cast further doubt on the reports of upcoming closures, saying that no ban on live poultry outlets has yet been officially ordered and that the ministry has issued no instructions to do so.

Certainly, it appears that no such closures have yet been ordered or implemented. Although some members of the public have expressed concern at the news reports of a possible bird flu outbreak, other seem unworried.

One shopper at a local Cooperative Society store told Kuwait Times: "I don't think there's a reason to be scared. Besides, according to the reports, it could maybe spread in winter, so we still have time to prepare and check all the imported live and even frozen chickens."

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