The Council of Agriculture (COA) and the Ministry of Economic Affairs are offering rewards to slaughterhouses, poultry distributors and live poultry slaughtering stands in traditional markets. The measure aims to stabilize the supply of poultry meat and facilitate the transition of the slaughter of poultry from traditional markets to slaughterhouses, as demanded by the ban on live poultry slaughter scheduled to take effect on May 17, the Central Epidemic Command Center said yesterday.
From today through May 16, the two-week period before the imposition of the ban on live poultry slaughter, the council is to give a subsidy of NT$10 for each extra chicken butchered in slaughterhouses, with last month’s average daily slaughter as the basis for comparison, council official Chao Parn-hwa (趙磐華) said.
“The ratio of reward distribution between the distributor or wholesaler and the slaughterhouse is 8:2, meaning that for each chicken slaughtered in the slaughterhouse, the distributor gets NT$8 and the slaughterhouse NT$2,” Chao said.
He added that for licensed vendors who have been slaughtering live poultry, estimated to be 1,051 in total, a discount of NT$15 will be offered for each poultry item bought from a certified slaughterhouse.
Ministry official Hsieh Chen-tung (謝振東) said the ministry is to subsidize each licensed live poultry slaughtering stand in traditional markets with NT$100,000 (US$3,400) to help them cope with the change.
“Those who accepted the subsidy have to adhere to the policy by terminating slaughtering in the markets and agreeing to sell certified meat from certified slaughterhouses,” Hsieh said.
The command center said that poultry from live poultry slaughtering stands is not necessarily the “freshest,” as many people believe.
Chen Ming-ju (陳明汝), a professor in the animal science and technology department at National Taiwan University, said that bird flu viruses are easily transmitted via poultry feces, dust, earth and contaminated surfaces including cages, knives, cutting boards, containers, foodstuffs and clothes in traditional markets.
“Not only is a traditional market an ideal place for cross-species transmission of bird flu viruses that can result in genetic recombination of the viruses, but from the point of view of animal welfare live poultry slaughter in markets is also inhumane,” Chen said, adding that having chickens caged in small coops witnessing the slaughter of other chickens is extremely cruel.