Poultry workers who stuff chickens into overloaded cages will be subject to prosecution, an official warned yesterday. The alert came after hundreds of chickens were found dead at Cheung Sha Wan market at the weekend due to overcrowded coops. 'Poultry workers are reminded to give sufficient space for the chickens. Otherwise, they will be prosecuted under the prevention of cruelty to animals ordinance,' said Agriculture and Fisheries Department assistant director Dr Liu Kwei-kin. At present, each coop is allowed 14 small chickens or up to 11 large ones. 'We will raise the issue with our mainland counterparts and ask them to strictly enforce the regulation,' he said. The Shenzhen Animal and Plant Quarantine Bureau said yesterday that quarantine procedures would be simplified next month. Border tests in Shenzhen would be replaced by visual checks to save about an hour, deputy director Tan Guoying said. About 80,000 chickens were being imported daily, compared with 100,000 before December's chicken ban. Dr Liu said the capacity of wholesale markets would be raised when renovation finished next month. Park'N Shop yesterday said its 'local chicken' label referred to birds reared in Hong Kong or the mainland, to differentiate them from overseas-imported chickens. The label had caused confusion as no local farms have been allowed to keep chicken since the mass slaughter in December.