Those in the poultry industry who have not adhered to the ban on live poultry slaughter in traditional markets should make the necessary changes, as it is “the right course to adapt to the latest consumer trend and trade liberalization,” the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine said.
The bureau made the remarks in response to claims by the poultry industry on Friday that the ban on the slaughter of live poultry in traditional markets only aids large slaughterhouses and would lead to monopolization of the industry.
In a statement, the bureau defended its policy as “effective” and said the number of slaughterhouses has hit the saturation point.
It said that of the current 83 registered slaughterhouses, 32 are small and able to cater to the needs of small chicken farmers. In addition, 50 extra slaughterhouses varying in size are in the process of being built.
“The slaughtering capacity is sufficient and building further public slaughterhouses would compromise the operational efficiency of others,” the satement said.
Regarding the calls to allow simple electrical stunning and slaughtering equipment on farms, the bureau said the practice is “definitely possible,” as precedents have already been made in successfully changing the category of land use from poultry farming to slaughtering facility.
However, Yao Liang-yi (姚量議), a research fellow at the Taiwan Rural Front and a chicken farmer, said some problems are being overlooked by the authority.
“The application for the establishment of on-farm slaughtering facilities is often choked by rules and regulations. In addition to some time-consuming bureaucratic procedures, the two greatest difficulties lie in land use category alteration and the presence of state-appointed on-site veterinarians,” Yao said.
“Vets are swarming into the pet business, leaving an insufficient number in the poultry industry,” Yao said, adding that the bureau’s red tape has already deterred many wanting to set up small, simple slaughtering rooms long before the implementation of the ban.
Yao’s claims are supported by chicken farmer Lin Chien-li (林謙利), who said the change of land use category alone requires 38 land investigations.
Countering the claim that the saturation point has been reached for the amount of slaughterhouses, Yao said it might be true that the “total amount” is satisfying, but the distribution is far from optimal.
“The slaughtering capacity promised by the authority relies on slaughterhouses’ entering ‘factory mode,’ meaning working eight hours a day. However, there is a golden period between butchering and sale which ensures the best quality chicken meat,” Yao said, adding that the cost of preserving butchered chickens is “daunting.”