Poultry producing companies in China have requested less-detailed news coverage of the various bird flu outbreaks in the country, as losses to the industry mount.
In a letter to health authorities The National Association of Poultry Farmers and some provincial counterparts asked that they "stop reporting individual cases" of the latest outbreak. The association said officials should "avoid excessively detailed reports" on the latest cases in the current outbreak. The letter, signed by 1,012 poultry industry executives, said some producers were facing heavy losses and even bankruptcy due to the disease's stigma and misinformation by the media, with losses so far this year already amounting to 20 billion yuan.
Authorities in the southern coastal province of Guangdong have stopped volunteering reports on latest infections in recent days, Xinhua, the state news agency reported.
Hong Kong culled 20,000 chickens last week less than a month after the SAR's Department of Health banned the sale of live chickens. Mainland provinces have followed suit.
Egg prices have plummeted 6.4% in the mainland on average by mid-January compared to a year earlier, according to the China Livestock Information Network. Chicken meat prices have fallen 3.3%.
The poultry sector employs 70 million people in China and represents one-fourth of the country's agricultural output, with revenues of 689 billion yuan in 2012, the South China Morning Post quoted the China Livestock Information Network as saying.