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Duck farmers demand relief for dioxin contamination

A group of duck farmers from Changhua County, Taiwan, have demanded that the government set up a task force to help them cope with the aftermath of a 2004 dioxin contamination incident.

The group said they are afraid to raise ducks again because not all the sources behind two dioxin contamination incidents have been found.

The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) issued a report on 16 December last year, holding Taiwan Steel Union Co, a scrap-metal recycler, responsible for 10 percent of the pollution.

"Since the source of 90 percent of the pollution has not yet been located, who can guarantee that ducks won't be contaminated again with dioxin?" said Huang Huo-cheng, a representative of the farmers, speaking at a press conference sponsored by non-partisan solidarity union legislator Chen Chin-ting.

The farmers were forced to stop raising ducks and destroy all their duck eggs after high levels of dioxin were found in duck eggs in Changhua County's Hsienhsi Township in December 2004. After a second contamination case was reported in Shenkang Village last September, farmers there were banned from raising ducks until further notice.

The restrictions were lifted at the end of June, when a subsidy the government paid the duck farmers as an advance until compensation was paid by the polluters was also halted.

Chen Chin-ting asked the government whether the contamination had been fully eradicated in Hsienshi Township, whether it was safe to eat duck meat and eggs, and if duck farmers were leading satisfactory lives.

Lin Chun-Lu, a senior specialist with the EPA's Department of Waste Management, said in response that the agency had been working to track down the other polluters.

"We had found at least five possible polluters, in addition to Taiwan Steel Union, and referred them to the judicial authorities for investigation," Lin said.

Editor WorldPoultry

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