Should live poultry be banned?2017.05.12
Andrew: Janice, when you eat cooked chicken, do you know where it comes from? Let me put it this way, can you tell the difference between a live chicken and a frozen chicken after it has been cooked and served?
Janice: I am not a food expert and I usually can’t tell the difference. Why are you asking?
Andrew: I have no idea why people are so eager to buy live chicken from the wet markets. In light of the risk of spreading avian influenza, I think the government is right to ban the importation of live chicken or live poultry in general. Better still, the government should ban it forever.
Janice: But if you shut down the entire industry of live poultry trading, thousands of people would be affected. More importantly, having livestock for sale is the traditional and cultural purpose of our wet markets.You buy fresh meat from a butcher and fresh fish from a fishmonger in a wet market. In Chinese society, live chicken is important. We used to buy them during festive occasions; there is a saying that goes, “let’s chop up a chicken to celebrate…” (劏隻雞先…). If you take this away, there would be one less cultural custom.
Andrew: We are taking about avian influenza here. Come on, after the H5N1 and H7N9, what’s next? It changes its form every few years, yet we are risking the spread of a deadly virus. And don’t forget, no one can tell the difference between a live and a frozen chicken anyway. Let’s have them processed, and keep the public safe.
Janice: Don’t forget that processed food does not guarantee any more safety. There is no telling what a manufacturer has put into the meat in order to make it tasty or well preserved. At least when you buy live poultry, you can see that your chicken is a chicken.
Key arguments (Andrew)
1. Live poultry poses a risk of spreading avian influenza.
2. Public health safety is the utmost important issue.
Key arguments (Janice)
1. Wet markets have been keeping live poultry for decades; it is an important local culture.
2. People have been buying live chickens during important occasions, banning the supply of live chicken destroys culture and traditions.
avian influenza 禽流感
public health 公共衛生
Did you know?
IN Hong Kong, chickens come in three forms; live chicken, frozen chicken and chilled chicken. In 2010, all live chickens supplied to Hong Kong, a total of 4990 tonnes, and a whopping 99 percent of chilled chickens, at 47,515 tonnes, were from the mainland. Frozen chickens were supplied by three countries; the mainland (65 percent), Brazil (12 percent) and the US (23 percent) at a total of 95,338 tonnes of chickens.
1. Whose side are you on? Andrew’s or Janice’s?
2. Why is selling live chicken in Hong Kong really more than just selling food?
3. Thousands of people would be affected if the government were to shut down live chicken trading. What should the government do?
4. The government should place health safety above anything. Do you agree?