HONG KONG, Feb. 7(Xinhuanet)-- A ban on backyard poultry-keeping will take effect on Feb. 13, Permanent Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food Carrie Yau said here Tuesday.|
Under the ban, the existing exemption for households keeping up to 20 poultry will be removed. The unauthorized keeping of poultry will be an offense warranting fines of up to 100,000 Hong Kong dollars.
Meanwhile, patrols at checkpoints have been strengthened to curb poultry smuggling.
Yau told lawmakers that the ban, which the Chief Executive in Council endorsed Tuesday, aims to ensure public health and lower the risk of a bird-flu outbreak. Past experience unveiled birds kept in backyards are more prone to infection due to the lack of bio-security measures.
When asked if compensation will be available for people who surrender their birds, Yau said the move is not viable as people would stockpile poultry for compensation. Households keeping up to 20 poultry should dispose of their birds as soon as possible.
Director of Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Stella Hung said raising racing pigeons for commercial purposes is regulated under the existing law. The Hong Kong Racing Pigeons Association has been asked to tell its members to apply for a licence if they want to raise up to 20 racing pigeons after the household poultry-keeping ban takes effect. Enditem