Via Thanh Nien Daily: Corrupt officials allow untested poultry to be sold in Vietnam. Excerpt:
The lethal threat of bird flu is apparently not serious enough for some corrupt officials who help slaughterhouses evade checks in Ho Chi Minh City and allow a market to openly sell untested chicken in Hanoi.
Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reported about two animal-health officials in District 12, HCMC, offering protection to a proposed slaughterhouse in exchange for VND4 million (US$190) a month for them and VND1 million a month to some ward officials also on the take.
The owner of the planned abattoir, identified only as P., met one of the officials, identified only as Phu, on a colleague's recommendation.
His slaughterhouse plans to handle around 200 kilograms of pork and 70 kilograms of chicken a day, all from unauthorized sources.
Tuoi Tre reported that Phu said during their meeting in a café March 8 that having live chicken would be difficult because of the bird flu threat and the presence of neighbors.
The H5N1 strain of the bird flu virus has killed more than 65,000 birds nationwide after breaking out in at least 23 cities and provinces this year.
But he said: “We won’t seize anything on our own. But we are not to blame if other units seize from you and transfer to us.”
He also said he cannot help if caught by the police or market managers though he promised to reduce the penalty if he is part of an inspection team that catches him.
If P.’s competitors tip him off, he would ignore it, Phu promised further.
His subordinate Hoang, who spent three minutes checking the proposed site of the abattoir, said P. should not have live chicken since that would attract attention. The chicken should be discreetly butchered somewhere else, he said.
He promised to tip P. off in advance about planned inspections, including on the road.
He reminded P. that the penalty for trading dubious livestock could exceed US$1,000.
Le Dinh Ha Thanh, head of the District 12 Animal Health Station, said she was not aware of such acts by her subordinates and said she would order an investigation.