Stop Killing Live Poultry in Traditional Markets of Taiwan

   Stop Killing Live Poultry in Traditional Markets of Taiwan

AVOT Report
by Jyun Han Lin  
March 20,2014

      Killing live poultry in traditional markets has not been allowed since May 2013. However, it was very common before to see customers selecting chickens, followed by butchers killing chickens on the spot while they struggled to their death.

      The book Crying Life published by LCA in 1996 not only exposed how cruelly chickens are killed, but also had a great influence on Taiwanese society. We found that people who are used to seeing chickens being killed in traditional markets are more likely to become callous; moreover, such an environment could easily trigger avian flu.

      A press conference to expose six flaws of the existing health system

      In order to stop killing lively poultry, we held a press conference titled "Besieged by crises in traditional markets" in October 2005, to expose the horrors of such slaughter in traditional markets. Furthermore, we pointed out the following six flaws in the existing health system and called for the Council of Agriculture to stop the killing in traditional markets. The six flaws are shown below:  

1. Vendors do not use sanitary measures, such as masks and gloves. When passing through traditional markets, they do not clean and disinfect themselves.

2. Cages and vehicles used for transportation of live poultry are not cleaned and disinfected at all and are scattered throughout the traditional markets.

3. Such vehicles without any cover would spread sickness and bacteria when transporting live poultry.   

4. Live poultry that are not sold out and instead caged in traditional markets pollute the surroundings.  

5. The public can get close to or touch live poultry.

6. Blood and feces flow into ditches that run through traditional markets.

      We urged Taipei City government to establish a chicken carcass exchange system. 

       Besides holding a press conference, we also cooperated with legislators of Taipei City to interrogate the Taipei City government. There were 58 traditional markets and a total of 420 vendors and pathways where chickens were transported. Such places were similar to numerous land mines waiting to explode in potential outbreaks of avian flu. At the end of 2005, in order to prevent the sale of live poultry at traditional markets and the resulting diseases, the Taipei City government advised butcher shops in traditional markets to get involved in the newly organized carcass exchange system.

      Protest against the procrastination of the policy of prohibition on killing live poultry

      Because of the conflict between the interests of vendors and those of butchers, the central government continued to delay the implementation of the policy, disregarding the public's health and social security. We were afraid that if any epidemic broke out, then both the businessmen and more importantly, the public, would suffer. For this reason, after announcing our opposing views, we even banded with other groups in March 2008. Together, we demanded that related sectors should reach an agreement as soon as possible, and called for the policy to be properly passed, with an aim to make the policy legally successful.

      When the avian flu broke out, the policy of prohibition on killing live poultry was finally implemented.

      With the records of avian flu in Taiwan, we urged the government to implement the policy to stop spreading diseases during transportation and killing. In 1997, after the outbreak of avian flu in Hong Kong, selling live chicken was forbidden in traditional markets. In 2013, when a serious outbreak happened in China, more than half of the patients were those in contact with or killing chickens, which proved that stopping the killing and selling of live poultry is indeed the way to control avian flu.

      In May 2013, Taiwan government finally decided to stop the killing and selling of live poultry. Under the pressure from many protests, the minister of the Council of Agriculture declared the implementation of the policy, which would build a protective web for the public's health, national security and even the betterment of animal welfare.

Thank Angelina, a NCCU volunteer, for proofreading the report  :D

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