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Government announces consultation outcome on way forward of live poultry trade
     The Government today (June 7) announced the outcome of the public consultation on the way forward of the live poultry trade. Having thoroughly considered the Consultant's findings and recommendations, as well as views collected during the public consultation period, the Government agrees with the broad direction that the status quo for the live poultry trade should be maintained.
     Prompted by the emergence of avian influenza (AI) incidents in recent years, the Government commissioned a consultancy study to advise on the way forward for the live poultry trade in Hong Kong. The consultancy study was completed in early 2017, and a two-month consultation exercise was subsequently conducted to gauge the views of the public on the findings and recommendations of the Consultant.
     A spokesman for the Food and Health Bureau said, "According to the views collected during the public consultation, in overall terms, the public and the live poultry trade support that the sale of live poultry at retail level should continue and import of live poultry from the Mainland should not be banned. Health experts recognise that the existing AI safeguard measures have been effective in controlling AI risk in Hong Kong, though their views on whether to maintain supply of live poultry at retail level are divided. Having taken into account the above views, the Government agrees with maintaining the status quo for the live poultry trade.
     "On the bio-security and safeguarding improvement measures proposed in the consultancy study, the trade in general supports introducing vaccination against H7N9 AI virus, strengthening pre-sale AI testing at the farm level, and reducing the staying time of minor poultry at the wholesale market, to more comprehensively guard against AI risk in Hong Kong. These measures are also supported by some health experts. To uphold our stringent AI prevention and control system, we also see merits in enhancing these measures.
     "Regarding further segregation between live poultry and humans at live poultry outlets, while some legislators and deputations support the idea, views from the trade are somewhat divided on how this could be done in view of the space limitation of most retail outlets. Some advisory bodies are supportive of introducing new modes of sale of live poultry to attain complete segregation between live poultry and consumers through the use of electronic or other technological means. Separately, there are also concerns about the future of the Cheung Sha Wan Temporary Wholesale Poultry Market, but views on whether and where it should be relocated are divergent. We would proceed to identify options, and in doing so, would engage the trade so that the options developed would be pragmatic and feasible."
     The Government conducted a public consultation on the way forward of the live poultry trade from April 3 to June 3, 2017. Over 80 written submissions were received during the consultation period.
Ends/Wednesday, June 7, 2017
Issued at HKT 14:00
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