Mainland Imports of Live Poultry Banned in Hong Kong
On New Year’s Eve, Hong Kong is stepping up their fight against the dreaded bird flu as government workers started to cull some 15,000 chicken at a wholesale poultry market and banned any live poultry imports coming from the mainland. The move came after health authorities confirmed a strain of bird virus was discovered in a batch of live chickens that was imported from Guangdong Province.
The affected market is in Kowloon and is now closed for three weeks for disinfection and cleaning in which all sales of live poultry will be suspended. The last time such action was done was in January 2104 as the city culled 20,000 chickens and suspended all live poultry imports from the mainland after testing positive for bird flu. There has been no outbreak since 1997 when the H5N1 bird flu virus affected six people which led to the slaughtering of more than 1.5 birds in the city.
For years the local government was been limiting the sale of live poultry and was offering cash incentives to retailers that surrender their licenses. Even with a preference for Cantonese cooking that uses fresh butchered meat. The amount of vendors selling live chickens has decreased to 130 in 2012 compared to 800 vendors in 2004.