AFCD investigates incident of dead chickens being found in Tai Po

     Regarding a report in a magazine that a large number of dead chickens were found in a refuse collection point in Tai Po, a spokesman for the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) said today (December 20) that the dead chickens are believed to have been mistakenly disposed of by staff of the Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden (KFBG).

     Information provided by the KFBG revealed that about 100 chicken carcasses taken from a storage freezer in the farm were disposed of at the refuse collection point by staff when they cleaned the freezer on December 12. The KFBG routinely culls chickens it raises and keeps some of the carcasses in the freezer for feeding meat-eating animals.

     The KFBG has been requested to have its chickens vaccinated against the H5 avian influenza virus as a routine practice. While AFCD officers regularly inspect the farm, in-house veterinarians at the KFBG also continuously monitor the health of the farm's chickens. So far, there has been no abnormal death of chickens in the farm and those culled were healthy and without signs of infectious diseases. All dead chickens not from routine culling are sent to the AFCD's veterinary laboratory for testing for avian influenza.

     AFCD officers inspected the KFBG yesterday (December 19) and found no abnormalities among the chickens. Environmental samples were taken and they are being tested for avian influenza.

     The spokesman said, "We have reminded the KFBG to work out a set of clear guidelines on the proper handling and disposal of chicken carcasses for its staff members to follow.

     "In addition to regular inspection at local poultry farms, the AFCD has stepped up prevention and control measures against avian flu and maintained close liaison with chicken farmers since the beginning of winter. The farmers are reminded to report any abnormal deaths of chickens to the AFCD promptly."

     The spokesman stressed that up till now, no abnormalities have been observed in local poultry farms.

Ends/Friday, December 20, 2013
Issued at HKT 17:34