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Vendors keep selling pet birds despite ban

By Lu Chen  (Global Times)

09:19, April 08, 2013

Bird lovers shop for pet birds Sunday at an unlicensed outdoor market near the intersection of Chengdu Road North and Dagu Road. Bussiness at the market, held every Sunday, wasn't affected by the recent bird flu cases, which caused local authorities to suspend licensed bird markets in the city. (Photo by Yang Hui/ GT)

Pet bird vendors posing as bird lovers continued to ply their trade on the streets Sunday despite the municipal government's prohibition on the sale of poultry, pigeons and other birds in local markets after several cases of bird flu were discovered in the city.

The Shanghai Administration for Industry and Commerce ordered three poultry wholesale markets and 461 retailers to stop selling live poultry last Friday, according to the Shanghai municipal government's microblog.

The administration also shut down 84 vendors who sold live poultry on the street, along with one unlicensed vendor, and prohibited the sale of birds at local flower and bird markets, the post said.

The new strain of bird flu, called H7N9, had killed four people and infected 10 in Shanghai as of Sunday afternoon.

The industry and commerce administration has not found any birds for sale at local flower and bird markets in Huangpu district, according to a staff member surnamed Gao.

"We started patrolling the flower and bird markets after the order came out Friday," Gao told the Global Times.

Nonetheless, a dozen or so sidewalk vendors who sell pet birds every weekend in Yanzhong Green Space in Huangpu district have remained in business.

"I have kept birds for more than 30 years and I have kept this one for more than a year. Pigeons are likely to have bird flu because they come in contact with other wild birds, but these house-raised birds have always been kept in cages," one vendor told the Global Times.

The vendor doesn't see a problem with the birds as long as they are kept in a clean space and their owners wash up after handling them.

Zhang Ronghua, a security guard at the green space, said the problem with the unlicensed bird vendors wasn't the possibility of spreading bird flu, but that they were taking up too much public space.

The city's appearance authority said it will take measures to stop the trade if it finds sidewalk vendors selling birds.

The municipal government also temporarily banned all performances involving live birds in the city.

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