A central slaughtering plant should be opened in 2011-12, Secretary for Food & Health Dr York Chow says, adding the Government is looking for a suitable site.
He said recent avian flu cases involving retail stalls will not affect the staging of Olympic Equestrian Events in August as the chicken cull on Wednesday has lowered the public health threat.
He told reporters today central slaughtering is the best way to lower the risk of avian flu outbreaks and safeguard public health. The Government will also explore the feasibility of daily chicken culls at retail stalls and a voluntary licence surrender scheme for the live poultry trade.
Dr Chow said recent bird flu cases may have been caused by smuggled poultry, as tests have confirmed there have been no genetic changes in the virus and all local poultry farms have been confirmed virus-free.
He said environmental hygiene at poultry retail stalls must be bolstered before resuming live chicken sales. The Centre for Health Protection has received 80 enquiries on avian flu after the chicken cull at retail stalls and Customs officers have boosted inspection against poultry smuggling.
Director of Food & Environmental Hygiene Warner Cheuk said after meeting the trade their compensation proposal will be studied. While daily chicken culls at retail stalls may impact the trade, Mr Cheuk said it must consider reforms to curb retail-level spread of bird flu.
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