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Poultry industry under pressure

By Yu Ran  (China Daily)

08:13, April 18, 2013

Pan Jianjing, 37, is worried about the cost of keeping his 16,000 unsold chickens on his farm. Gao Erqiang / China Daily

The unexpected outbreak of the new H7N9 strain of bird flu is imposing a huge financial strain on breeders and sellers, reports Yu Ran in Wenzhou, Zhejiang.

After being woken in the early morning by his 16,000 chickens crowing in their coops, Pan Jianjing was unable to get back to sleep. Usually a sound sleeper, the 37-year-old breeder's rest has been disrupted by business concerns. The outbreak of the H7N9 strain of bird flu has resulted in the bottom falling out of the market and Pan hasn't sold a chick in the past two weeks.

Pan's 2,000-square-meter farm, in Tengqiao village, Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, an area well known for smoked chicken products, has turned from money-spinner to cash drain.

By Tuesday, the national and provincial labs had tested 47,801 samples from 84,444 collected nationwide, according to the Ministry of Agriculture. The 39 positive samples taken from live poultry all originated in the municipality of Shanghai and the provinces of Anhui, Zhejiang and Jiangsu, all of which confirmed cases of H7N9 bird flu.

So far, 82 cases have been confirmed nationwide and 16 people have died, according to Xinhua News Agency.

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