February 25, 2004



Hong Kong To Import Fertilized Eggs To Avoid Poultry Shortage


Hong Kong authorities announced their intention to bring in fertilized eggs to avoid a poultry shortage as a result of import bans on live chickens.


Hong Kong has yet to be affected by the bird flu outbreak that has crossed to humans in Thailand and Vietnam, killing 22, but it has suffered previous cases and remains on high alert for the disease.


Hong Kong has about 2 million local chickens, but it is selling more than 20,000 of them a day and shortages could be looming, said Albert Hui, a spokesman for the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department.


The Hong Kong chickens mostly were brought in as chicks to be grown here and few are reproducing.


Officials said in a statement that if they begin importing fertilized eggs, they will ensure they come from healthy chickens.


It was unclear what the source of the eggs would be. Hong Kong previously got most of its live chickens from mainland China but stopped those shipments after bird flu was found in the mainland.