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Playing Chicken in Hong Kong

The papers are full today of news about the bird flu threat. A man died of the H5N1 virus in Guangzhou. All exports of Guangdong fowls to Hong Kong have been suspended for three weeks. The authorities are still not sure where he caught the disease since he lived in an urban area. He had, however, been spending a lot of time in wet markets doing research on starting a business. There has been no outbreak of the flu in Guangdong, so officials are concerned that the vaccine being used to inoculate birds may not be working.

In a totally predictable response the chairman of the Hong Kong Poultry Wholesalers’ and Retailers’ Association said the imposition of the ban, “…would create not only a serious shortage but even a public panic.” What idiocy! People are going to panic because they can’t buy a chicken? I don’t think so. If this dumbie wants to experience a panic, he should wait until the first case appears in Hong Kong proper.

He and some other self-serving idiots associated with the chicken trade suggested that this was an isolated case and that the government is over-reacting. Over-reacting? Not! Once again, I am puzzled by the ability of some people to ignore an obvious danger to everyone’s health for fear of its economic consequences. I will gladly give up chicken or any other food if that will lessen the possibility of bird flu spreading to Hong Kong.

In another related story, pigeons released by those who didn’t want agricultural officials killing their birds, are flying all over Tuen Mun and other places. Evidently pleas for help were met with the offer of some cages to trap the birds and an address to bring them for slaughter. Since everyone has been told to avoid wild birds, there seems to be a definite disconnect between what the government is saying and what it is or isn’t doing.

…and the beat goes on.