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Live Chicken Sales To Re-start

by 5m Editor
25 June 2008, at 8:18a.m.

HONG KONG - Providing that daily cleansing is implemented at each retail site, live chicken sales may soon resume.

Government officials have promised the poultry industry the resumption of the sale of live chickens when the current sale ban expires today.

The news came after a meeting between poultry trade representatives and government officials on Monday morning.

The government banned the sale of live chickens at wet markets for 21 days after the H5N1 bird flu virus was found in wet markets on 11 June.

Last Friday, the government proposed a HK$10 billion compensation package to the poultry trade for them to end their businesses but the trade rejected it.

While wholesalers agree to the daily cleansing policy, retailers and farmers object to the measure.

Hong Kong Poultry Wholesalers Association chairman Tsui Ming-tuen admitted that the majority of wholesalers he has talked to have agreed to the measure but he said it was only because the wholesalers had no other choice. He explained that the compensation package proposed by the government simply does not cover the wholesalers' losses.

Meanwhile, he suggested setting up a storage area for live chickens already bought by retailers at the wholesale market.

This can help maintain good hygiene, he said.

Hong Kong Poultry Wholesalers and Retailers Association chairman Steven Wong Wai-chuen said after meeting with Director of Food and Environmental Hygiene Cheuk Wing-hing yesterday that most retailers are still unwilling to kill off all unsold birds daily.

However, they have yet to reach a consensus over what compensation they would accept.

A government source has said it is unlikely that the government will increase the amount of compensation.

5m Editor