Thu, Aug 31, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Anti-bird flu plan will cost poultry vendors jobs

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

A truckload of chickens is taken to be slaughtered in Kaohsiung County yesterday. A new policy prohibiting vendors from slaughtering chickens themselves was announced by the Cabinet yesterday to prevent the spread of avian influenza.

PHOTO: WANG JUNG-HSIANG, TAIPEI TIMES

Almost 3,000 vendors who slaughter chickens, ducks and geese on demand at traditional markets will need to find new jobs from Oct. 1, 2008, after the Cabinet yesterday announced its new policy to prevent avian influenza.

"According to our statistics, there are currently 2,855 vendors selling and slaughtering chickens, ducks and geese on demand. The government will help them sell other items or simply help them switch gears to other careers," Political Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Shih Yen-shiang (施顏祥) said.

Council of Labor Affairs Chairman Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) said that the council has talked to vendors and found that most of them were willing to stop slaughtering poultry on demand and switch to birds that have been slaughtered, processed and packed by professional abattoirs.

Shih said that affected vendors would need new equipment, and that the ministry would provide NT$100,000 (US$3,040) per vendor to buy new refrigeration equipment and NT$60,000 for used equipment.

"The aid will be available upon request until June 2007," Shih said. "Whoever needs this aid will need to file an application with the coordinating office of their local market."

Starting on Oct. 1, 2008, those who slaughter birds in public will be liable for a NT$500,000 fine.

"In addition to helping vendors make the switch, we will be encouraging the establishment of state-of-the-art slaughterhouses," Council of Agriculture Vice Chairman Hu Fu-hsiung (胡富雄) said.

Hu said that there were 23 abattoirs nationwide, with another 20 under construction, while 39 applications to open slaughterhouses are being processed.

The council will provide NT$15 million to each of the 39 slaughterhouses that are yet to be built to contribute to the cost of installing the necessary equipment.

National Science Council Chairman Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) said that the government was not taking away job opportunities from vendors of live chickens.

"We are only developing a new business model. What's more, this new business model will not increase costs for either the vendors or consumers," Chen said.

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