Ban on live poultry trade in markets
Taiwan is planning to ban live poultry trade and slaughtering in
traditional markets by 2008 to prevent possible avian flu outbreaks, according
to a government official.
The policy, when implemented, would make Taiwan the
second Asian country to have banned live poultry trade, following Singapore.
Hong Kong also plans to follow suit by 2008.
The H5N1 strain of avian
influenza began to hit Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia in 2004 before
spreading to Europe, Africa and other parts of the world more recently.
To ensure Taiwan's protection from avian flu, the government has put the
anti-avian flu task on the list of affairs related to national security.
At a national security meeting on avian flu in March, President Chen
Shui-bian instructed related agencies to study the possibility of prohibiting
live poultry slaughter in traditional markets to prevent avian flu being
transmitted from poultry to humans.
An interministerial ad hoc group will present a series of measures next month
to prevent an avian flu outbreak in Taiwan, including an increase of qualified
electrical slaughterhouses around the island and educating poultry vendors and
the public on how to prevent the disease.
Some academics believe that the popularity of live poultry slaughter in
Asia's traditional markets causes the transmission of avian flu.
Many poultry vendors opposed the policy at the beginning due to fear that
they will lose customers who prefer to buy newly killed poultry, Taipei city
government officials said.
However, they are now more willing to accept the policy since they believe
that it will attract more clients in the long run, the official added.
According to the officials, there are some 400 poultry vendors selling newly
slaughtered poultry in Taipei.
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