Taipei, May 2 (CNA) The Central Epidemic Command Center announced incentive measures Thursday to encourage vendors in traditional markets to stop slaughtering poultry as part of the government's effort to prevent the H7N9 avian flu away.
The center said that between May 3 and May 16, poultry vendors in traditional markets will receive NT$15 (US$0.5) from the Council of Agriculture (COA) for every bird they buy from a legal slaughterhouse.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs will allocate NT$100,000 for each vendor to have their chickens slaughtered away from the markets.
The incentives will be followed by a ban on the slaughter of poultry at traditional markets that will be implemented May 17 in order to prevent unnecessary contact between humans and poultry and channel poultry processing into approved slaughterhouses.
The moves are in response to the concerns over the H7N9 avian flu outbreaks in China that had claimed 26 deaths there as of Wednesday.
The incentives will cover 920 poultry vendors and 79 legal slaughterhouses, as well as distributors and wholesalers.
The COA will give NT$2 to slaughterhouses for every additional fowl they slaughter each day over their normal quotas, while the distributors and wholesalers to traditional markets will get NT$8 per bird.
The COA also said that from May 17, anyone found to have slaughtered live poultry will be fined between NT$20,000 and NT$100,000. Repeat offenders will face jail terms of up to a year, in addition to fines.
The COA said Taiwan currently consumes nearly 300,000 chickens daily, of which 30,000 are slaughtered in traditional markets, which many, generally older, local shoppers prefer.
Taiwan currently has 79 legal slaughterhouses, but is planning to build 56 more to meet the additional demand.
Ducks and geese are always killed in slaughterhouses and not in traditional markets.
(By Chen Ching-fang and Lilian Wu)