Hong Kong’s supply of fresh beef and lamb has sold out and has become as scarce as pork since Tuesday (14/5/2019).
According to RTHK, the shortage was not only caused by the fact that their stock was sold out, but also related to the closure of the slaughterhouse due to a swine flu infection in Africa in a pig imported from China.
Friday’s discovery of the highly contagious virus prompted the culling of some 6,000 pigs and the temporary suspension of imports of live pigs. Initially a viral infection was detected in pigs at the Sheung Shui abattoir, which is now closed for quarantine measures.
This means local cattle, sheep and pigs cannot be slaughtered on site at this time. Dozens of beef stalls across Hong Kong reported that they no longer had fresh meat to sell to their customers.
The trade representative said it was too early to say how much loss Hong Kong butchers would have to bear.
Government officials said the Sheung Shui slaughterhouse is likely to reopen on Monday, after a thorough cleanup following the slaughter of thousands of pigs with electric shocks and wrapped in plastic before being taken to landfills.
“It’s really in the public interest that we have to close the slaughterhouse… therefore I hope everyone will be patient for the next few days,” said Sophia Chan, secretary of Hong Kong’s Food and Health Service, as quoted by RTHK.
Chan said officials were trying to find out why the private abattoir in Tsuen Wan had also closed following the discovery of swine flu. Chan hopes the Tsuen Wan slaughterhouse can start operating again soon, to minimize the impact on the local meat supply shortage.