Demise of live bird marketing
Government officials in Asia have been forced to
review the desirability of maintaining live bird markets in urban centers.
Concern over the dissemination of avian influenza and implications for human
health have in all probability accelerated the move towards purchase of
processed poultry in whole bird and portioned forms. By Simon
Government officials in Asia have been forced to review
the desirability of maintaining live bird markets in urban centers. Concern over
the dissemination of avian influenza (bird flu) and implications for human health
have in all probability accelerated the move towards purchase of processed poultry in whole bird and portioned forms
Municipal authorities in Taipei have introduced legislation which will
eliminate live bird markets in 2008 following a similar initiative in Singapore.
It is anticipated that Hong Kong will follow after an extensive program of
attempting to "sanitize" live bird markets, since the emergence of H5N1
infection in 1997.
The role of live bird markets in perpetuating and
disseminating low pathogenicity avian influenza has been recognized in the USA
where approximately 500,000 broilers, along with waterfowl and other avian
species are sold for human consumption each week in urban centers of east and
west coast cities. The USDA
has introduced a program which will indemnify States in the event of
outbreaks of low pathogenicity avian influenza. This is contingent on approved
programs to suppress influenza through the chain of production from farms
through to retail outlets. Currently minimal standards of sanitation in retail
outlets are required including depopulation at weekly intervals and frequent
surveillance which confirms the presence of influenza virus indicating infection
in consignments of birds.
In the USA and Canada, demand for live birds by Hispanic and Asian
communities maintains the trade. In Asia and Africa, marketing of live birds is
deeply ingrained. This is based on the acceptance that only a live bird can be
fresh. Hallal slaughter is assured in countries with this requirement although
it is noted that Saudi Arabia is now promoting the consumption of processed
domestic broilers and that Jordan has banned live markets in urban centers.
Elimination of live bird markets will represent a disruption to the
traditional system of production and distribution involving farmers and a
network of dealers and retailers. This will hasten the move towards integration
either in the form of cooperatives or commercial enterprises involving feed
mills, hatcheries and processing plants. This will ultimately benefit both
producers and consumers. Foodborne diseases including salmonellosis and
campylobacteriosis will be reduced through hygienic processing. The prevalence
of avian infections including Newcastle disease, very virulent IBD, avian
influenza, and ILT will be reduced as the involvement of itinerant dealers falls
away and flocks are operated on an all-in-all-out, single-age placement program.
Integration, whether vertical or horizontal, will allow the application of more
advanced technology with regard to biosecurity and disease prevention and will
lead to the elimination of undesirable practices such as indiscriminant use of
antibiotics and the marketing of birds which would not generally pass antimortem
or on-line inspection.
Although it is acknowledged that rural residents will
continue to maintain subsistence poultry and operate local and regional markets,
consumers in the large urban centers in Asian and African countries will be
protected from foodborne infection and will be able to purchase wholesome
processed poultry at a lower cost than at present. The demise of the live bird
marketing system is one of the few benefits arising from the current panornitic of avian influenza .
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