It is up to Hong Kong people to decide whether to move to central or regional slaughtering of chickens, the WHO's chief influenza pandemic expert says. '[Central slaughtering] has already been practised in western countries. But Asian countries may prefer other methods. This is the cultural preference of having very fresh chicken,' Margaret Chan Fung Fu-chun told the South China Morning Post yesterday. Her comments came as the Executive Council approved an increase in compensation for poultry farmers, wholesalers and transporters who surrender their licences voluntarily and stop operating. Under the new package, the minimum payout to a chicken farm will be raised from $300,000 to $450,000. Dr Chan, Hong Kong's former director of health, was last month promoted to director of the WHO's department of communicable diseases surveillance and response, and representative of the director-general for pandemic influenza. She said the WHO could adopt relevant best practices and guidelines but it would be up to each member state and cities such as Hong Kong to create home-made solutions because they were in the best position to know what would work in their communities.