Illegal poultry slaughter, sales: HCMC fears bird flu epidemic

Veterinary workers fear Ho Chi Minh City could be hit by a bird flu epidemic since illegal slaughter and sales of poultry are rife in some districts and water fowls bred on small farms have not been vaccinated.

Veterinary workers with poultry seized while being transported illegally into HCMC (Photo: SGGP)

One of the poultry hotspots is Cau market on Quang Trung Street in Districts Go Vap and 11. It is a notorious wet market where poultry has been slaughtered illegally for many years, and it continues to flourish despite the bird flu scare.

Neither district has cleared it. A Go Vap official said sellers in the market flee to the other district when they see inspectors.

Besides, he said, since most are migrants from other provinces, it is difficult to catch them.

The situation is similar at Tan Son market which is situated in both Districts 8 and Binh Chanh.

The city’s Steering Board for Bird Flu Prevention is unhappy that district authorities have not closed down these illegal markets.

The head of the city Department of Animal Health, Phan Xuan Thao, said the city faces the threat of bird flu from the widespread smuggling in of water fowls from neighboring provinces.

Nguyen Trung Tin, vice chairman of the city People’s Committee, expressed worry about a possible human bird flu epidemic.

He said inspectors must be posted round the clock at “hot” spots to deal with violations, assisted by police officers.

He warned officials in charge of preventing the disease that they would be taken to task if live poultry is found to be sold in their area by inspectors or the media.

By Lam Tue, Cong Phien - Translated by Uyen Phuong

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