Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Sinh Hung has spoken with officials of Thailand’s northern Lang Son Province about strengthening the fight against cross-border poultry smuggling.
Hung stressed the importance of preventing the return of avian flu while on a visit to the province, about 150km from Ha Noi, last Saturday.
Since then, there has been a further outbreak of bird flu detected at markets in Hanoi. Vietnam’s government discovered the bird flu virus through random sampling on live ducks at a market.
The Animal Health Department has banned hatching of ducks after Friday in an effort to prevent the virus from spreading.
In Lang Son, the local anti-smuggling force had confiscated and destroyed over 70 tonnes of chicken, 92 pigs, 83 cows and tonnes of poultry products illegally imported from neighbouring countries since March, according to local reports.
Though local veterinarians sent 60 samples for testing, all of them tested negative. However, with the spread of avian flu looming, Lang Son has set up quarantine check-points on inter-provincial traffic routes.
Most of poultry sold in the area at restaurants and markets is said to be from illicit birds.
Animal health department staff say that all of the birds smuggled from China are hens and only their large combs and big ovaries distinguish them from local birds. But as both of these parts are removed by butchers before the birds go to market, customers cannot distinguish between illicit and local poultry.