CAIRO: Hundreds of poultry breeders and owners of stores selling live fowl protested Sunday against alleged government plans to allow more imports of frozen fowl, and to keep culling Egyptian birds following an outbreak of deadly bird flu.
Carrying banners reading no to frozen chicken, more than 500 demonstrators gathered at noon near the state television and radio broadcast complex in Cairo.
They were protesting against reports published in Egyptian newspapers that the government would allow an increase in the number of imported frozen chickens. Some also claimed they had not received compensation for culled birds.
There was no immediate comment from the government on the alleged reports and no figure available on how many chickens are imported into Egypt. Egypt s population of 72 million people depends heavily on chicken and turkey for food. Many families raise poultry in their backyards.
The government has culled more than 4,000 of my chickens and has not compensated me, said Gamal Abdul Nasser from Minof, north of the capital. “Who is going to pay, he yelled, we are poor people.
Health authorities went on bird flu alert a week ago, when the government veterinary service reported dozens of dead birds in Egypt had tested positive for avian flu, including the deadly H5N1 strain. No human cases have been diagnosed.
Although the government has denied ordering the closure of stores selling live chickens, stores selling the birds have closed around Cairo. AP