News update:May 12, 2010

Hong Kong chicken ban to be lifted

Live chicken in Hong Kong will be for sale again on July 2 if vendors agree not to keep the poultry alive overnight.

The government's decision to restart trading came after a 90-minute meeting between officials and 11 representatives from the retail sector on Monday.

Shoppers welcomed the news which ended the 21-day ban on live poultry sales at 469 wet market stalls and fresh provision stores in Hong Kong.

But the trade remains divided over the enforcement of the overnight ban and the government's buyout proposal for the whole industry.

A Food and Environmental Hygiene Department spokeswoman said vendors resuming operations can later opt for compensation if they decide to surrender their licenses. Time is needed to reach a consensus and work out the details of the buyout plan with the industry, she said.

The ban on stocking chickens overnight at markets was installed to halt the spread of bird flu.

More than 100 chicken farmers, poultry transporters, retailers and wholesalers met yesterday at the Cheung Sha Wan wholesale market to discuss the government's $1HK billion compensation package, unveiled on Friday, to end the sale of live chickens.

The government warned that if there was no consensus before July 2 - the end of a 21-day ban on imports and sales - it would legislate against the keeping of live chickens overnight in markets.

Editor WorldPoultry

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