October 3, 2008


Hong Kong to pay out HK$660 Million to curb live-chicken sales


Hong Kong has received compensation applications totalling HK$660 million (US $85 million) from poultry farmers, traders and transporters as the city aims to end live- chicken sales to combat bird-flu.


The government said in a statement today that the local retail industry will only be able to handle 10,000 live chickens a day, after 333 vendors or about 72 percent of the trade chose to surrender their licenses. Half of the daily supply of chickens will be imported from the mainland.


Hong Kong offered to buy back poultry-industry licenses in June to end live-chicken trading, after the discovery of H5N1 bird-flu virus cases prompted the government to order the slaughter of all chickens in the city's markets. A total of HK$1 billion (US $129 million) in compensation was on offer.


It said that the government will also accelerate the introduction of centralized slaughtering of chickens. The plan was previously expected to come into operation in 2011 or 2012.


The government said in a separate statement that Hong Kong will also resume imports of poultry products from Thailand, ending a four-year ban. The embargo was put in place in January 2004 because of concerns about bird flu in the Southeast Asian nation.

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