Via the South China Morning Post: Shenzhen makes a half-hearted start to trial ban on live poultry. Excerpt:
Shenzhen this week made a halting start to its trial ban on the sale of live poultry in Futian, the densely populated district directly across from Hong Kong, in a bid to reduce the incidence of bird flu.
The ban was originally slated for July 1, but it was delayed several days until this Thursday. Many live chickens continued to be traded in the district's wet markets. Traders complained they had been given little - if any - notice of the ban or how it was to be implemented.
Shenzhen is the second Pearl River Delta city to ban live sales after Guangzhou, which began a six-month trial on May 5. The Shenzhen Economy, Trade and Information Commission said vendors in Futian could only sell chilled fresh poultry from approved slaughterhouses. The ban will also cover the Luohu, Yantian and Nanshan districts but no dates have been set for this.
According to the provincial health department, there have been 109 cases of H7N9 bird flu in the six months to June 17, 37 of them fatal.
The ban applies to farm produce markets, supermarkets and restaurants. Officials will tighten licensing procedures for refrigerated delivery services. The districts will supervise the slaughter and delivery of poultry.
The issue rose to prominence after Zhong Nanshan, a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and a leading figure during the Sars epidemic in 2003, said the key to containing H7N9 was controlling live poultry markets. As a result, the government acted quickly - too quickly, in the opinion of some.
The city's live poultry vendors, for example, seemed surprised by the decision, saying the government's policy was issued recklessly and lacked detailed measures on implementation.