CAIRO: As of July 1, 2010, a ban on the selling of live poultry, which was in place since May 2009 across only five governorates, will be implemented nationwide.
Head of the Poultry division at the Cairo Chamber of Commerce Abdel-Aziz El-Sayed said that instating a ban on selling live poultry will only be effective if all stakeholders cooperate.
"If they [different stakeholders] don’t cooperate, this law will be mere talk," El-Sayed told Daily News Egypt.
The ban was first discussed in the wake of the outbreak of bird flu in May 2007.
"Even after the legislation was approved by the People’s Assembly last year, you could still see [live] poultry being sold by private traders. It did not pan out as we planned," said El-Sayed.
He explained that the problem relies in official bodies working independently which, according to him, is not effective.
"Plus, those who broke the law weren’t penalized," he added.
Under the new law, only licensed slaughterhouses with a resident veterinarian are allowed to handle live poultry.
"The local councils and police stations must support the veterinarians … [who] will administer the whole process to ensure that each chicken is healthy," El-Sayed said.
Each vet carries out a preliminary examination after which he overlooks the slaughtering, cleaning, freezing and selling stages.
"Our main purpose is to combat the spread of bird flu," he added.
On possible penalties for those caught breaking the law, El-Sayed explained that there are three stages to punishment.
First-timer penalty is a six-month prison sentence and a fine between LE 1,000 and LE 10,000.
Those who break the law for the second time will be forced to pay LE 10,000, serve a six-month prison sentence and their establishments forced shut temporarily.
If caught for a third time, the establishment will be shut down indefinitely in addition to paying the fine and prison sentence.
"People will only start believing the decision and abiding by it if those who break the law are held accountable," El-Sayed said.