Chicken companies threaten to sue government over culling compensation

Director says he will give Food and Health Bureau two weeks to respond to letter

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 25 February, 2014, 6:41pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 25 February, 2014, 6:45pm

Two local chicken production companies are threatening legal action against the government, claiming they are owed compensation for last month’s culling and the following three-week ban on the live poultry trade.

Regal Cheng Chin-keung, the director of Emperor Chicken and Kamei Chicken, said the two companies would send a “pre-action” letter to the Food and Health Bureau and Secretary for Food and Health Dr Ko Wing-man on Friday.

Cheng said he would give them two weeks to respond.

He is also considering taking out either a lawsuit or a complaint to the Ombudsman over the government’s decision to cull local poultry and suspend trade when it was mainland poultry found to be infected.

“The problem was not in New Territories’ farms this time. The government did not do enough in safe-guarding at the border,” he said.

Cheng claims it is unreasonable that his companies did not receive the government compensation on the grounds that they were not considered “breeders, traders, retailers or other related industries”.

He said his companies worked with the University of Hong Kong to produce local breeds of chicken. He said this involved young chickens being sent into seven local farms to grow until they were 90 days old and ready for sale.

He estimated that around 100,000 chickens accumulated in the seven farms during the three-week trade suspension and that about 25,000 chicks had to be killed as the farms lacked space.