October, 03 2012 10:18:25

Chicken smugglers ruffle feathers in bird flu battle


Inspectors inspect a vehicle transporting ducks in Ha Noi's Thuong Tin District in order to prevent the spread of bird flu. — VNA/VNS Photo Dinh Hue
HA NOI (VNS)— Animal and livestock departments and northern border provinces have been alerted to prevent chicken smuggling from China because of the danger of bringing more bird flu into the country.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Diep Kinh Tan yesterday said the disease was being transported in poultry smuggled through the Quang Ninh Province's Mong Cai border gate to the provinces of Thai Binh, Hung Yen and Cao Bang and Ha Noi.

Bird flu outbreaks have been reported in Thai Binh, Tuyen Quang, Hoa Binh, Ha Tinh and Quang Ngai provinces.

Quang Ngai has incinerated 24,000 head of poultry of a total of 40,000 killed nation-wide.

Livestock Husbandary Department deputy director Nguyen Duc Trong said smuggling of chickens from China had increased from the second half of September. Before that it was under control

He said the mountainous province of Lang Son used to be a hot spot for poultry smuggling but because of strict monitoring in the area smugglers had moved to Mong Cai, in the northern province of Quang Ninh.

On September 20, customs officers in Quang Ninh uncovered four separate cases of people trying to bring chickens from China into the country without quarantine certificates or papers of origin.

Do Duc Huu, head of Quang Ninh Customs Control No.2, told Nong thon ngay nay (Countryside Today) newspaper that smugglers often transported small amounts of goods by motorbike at night to avoid being detected.

In August, inspectors stopped 11 consignments of chickens from China, seizing 1,300kg of poultry and 69,000 chickens which were to be used for breeding purposes, Huu added.

Trong attributed the problem to high profits from illegally imported chickens.

An illegally imported chicken can fetch VND100,000 (US$4.8), just half the price of a locally bred bird. Traders also purchase baby chickens from China for breeding for just VND4,000 ($0.2).

Smugglers deceive authorities by taking poultry to local farms so they can pass them off as domestic chickens and transport them around the country.

"About 16-20 tonnes of poultry, allegedly originating from China, are sold openly in the Ha Vy wholesale market in Ha Noi each day, but they are quickly hidden when authorities carry out inspections," he said.

Tan said the livestock husbandary department should have clearly acknowledged poultry smuggling and wholesale trading and asked the department to define specific responsibilities of relevant agencies, in the light of the increase in illegal activities, and installed stricter preventive measures.

The ministry's relevant departments were going to meet next week with border provinces' people's committees to finalise means and measures to stop the illegal trading.

The animal health department was also conducting trials of the Re6 vaccine, imported from China, and a domestic vaccine produced by the National Veterinary Company (Navetco) on poultry affected with new strain of bird flu, and would release their results next week.

Tan also expressed concern poultry smuggling would harm the domestic breeding sector. — VNS

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