Market poultry slaughter unethical, unhealthy: expert

FRESH MEAT?:As well as market slaughter being ethically dubious, a poultry expert said if not kept sufficiently cold, chicken meat can grow bacteria and lose nutrients

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

Sat, May 11, 2013 - Page 3

With the implementation of the ban on the slaughter of live poultry at traditional markets a week away, the Central Epidemic Command Center re-emphasized yesterday that the slaughter of poultry in traditional markets poses a grave risk to the disease prevention network and does not guarantee the freshness of the meat.

Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director Chou Jih-haw (周志浩) opened a press conference by referring to a study published in the medical journal Lancet, which confirmed that chickens in poultry markets were a source of human infections of the H7N9 avian influenza virus, to reassure the public on the importance of ending the slaughter of poultry at markets.

Ho Chung-ping (何中平), a consultant at the Taiwan Poultry Processing Association and adjunct assistant professor in the department of animal science and technology at National Taiwan University, said the idea that chicken meat is “tasty only if the chicken was butchered at the market” is a myth that could result in people being exposed to harmful bacteria and diseases.

“Tastiness does not hinge on slaughtering methods, but on the breed of chicken,” Ho said.

Ho added that butchered chicken, if not sold or put in a fridge immediately, could grow bacteria, while nutrients could be lost in the absence of temperature controls.

“Butchering chickens in the market not only raises doubts on an ethical level, slaughtering without first stunning them, thus having them butchered in a terrified state, but it could also lead to the emergence of certain chemicals in the meat that pose a threat to health,” Ho said.

“The tenseness of the chicken leads to an incomplete bleeding process and, as we all know, blood is a major source of contaminants,” Ho added.