Thursday, June 22, 2006


For a while, back in 2003 and 2004, Vietnam became infamous as a kind of a 'bird flu central', due to a sprawl of outbreaks of avian influenza amongst poultry birds.

Now Vietnam has seemingly rid itself of the virus, and has been held up by the World Health Organisation as an example to the rest of the world as to how a country can contain and eliminate the killer flu.

But it has come at a cost to the traditional methods of raising poultry birds in towns and villages, where chickens and fowl often ran free in yards and in the streets.

Following international advice, Vietnam now looks set to "rezone" its indigineous poultry production, according to Peoples' Daily Online, "with focus on establishing large concentrated farms, slaughterhouses and markets."

"Vietnam...has already banned the breeding of fowls in inner areas of major cities and towns.

"Under the ministry's stipulation, farms with 500 breeding hens upward or at least 1,000 commodity fowls must be built far way from residential areas, schools, national roads and hospitals, while raising waterfowls freely in fields or canals without cages and fences are prohibited. Egg-hatching facilities must be at least 500m away from animal raising areas and houses.

"Besides restructuring the fowl production, Vietnam is re-zoning poultry distribution and slaughtering systems. The agriculture ministry and the Trade Ministry have asked cities nationwide to construct concentrated slaughterhouses in proper locations to eventually abolish small and scattered slaughterhouses in their inner areas.

"The two ministries have also instructed cities and towns to abolish live fowl markets in their inner areas, and build poultry markets far way from markets trading other products. Fowls and related products circulated in the market must undergo quarantine, and they must be transported in special-use vehicles, not simple means.

"Now, Vietnam is encouraging both domestic and foreign enterprises to engage in raising fowls on industrial scale and processing them in modern plants. Some foreign companies have shown interest in building poultry processing facilities in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City."

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