Council of Agriculture Minister Chen Bao-ji (陳保基) yesterday said that a ban on the slaughter of live poultry in traditional markets could be enforced ahead of schedule, possibly by next month, to prevent the risks of H7N9 avian influenza infection carried by migrating birds.
While responding to legislators’ questions about the signing of a recent fisheries agreement with Japan at the Legislative Yuan’s Economic Committee meeting, Chen was also asked about the outbreak of H7N9 avian flu in China and the council’s precautionary measures.
The proposal to ban the slaughtering of live poultry has been discussed several times in the past few years, starting in 2004, but the policy was postponed until 2008, and then again postponed until 2010, with local governments having the authority to allow exceptional conditions, currently the policy is still not enforced in a uniform fashion across the nation.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Ting Shou-chung (丁守中) asked Chen whether the council has a schedule for the enforcement of the policy.
Chen said the council had been communicating with representatives from the poultry industry since last year and the policy could be enforced within a month if communications are effective, starting with counties that have licensed slaughterhouses.
In addition, the number of live poultry killed in traditional markets account for a low percentage of the total poultry consumed in the nation, the council said.