Last Sunday 23rd March 2014 it was brought to my attention that live poultry was being sold at a market place on Alum Rock Road, Birmingham B8. Immediately I set off to investigate. Alum Rock is a predominately Muslim area and if live poultry was being sold here, it was obvious poultry will be slaughtered on domestic premises according to Islamic requirement, i.e the chickens will not be stunned first.
As soon as I arrived the stench from the live poultry market overwhelmed me. The chickens had been stuffed tightly into black crates, and were huddling together to keep warm because it was a bitterly cold March afternoon. Locals told me the chickens had been there since 6am. Posng as a customer I asked one of the sellers to allow me to inspect a few of the chickens. He did not object. I am use to handling live chickens and my objective was to feel the chickens' crop to ascertain if they had been feed. Their gullet was empty proving the chickens had not been fed.
The chickens were being sold by a company called Bismillah Halal Poultry Ltd based in Birmingham. I immediatley contacted the RSPCA and raised my concerns. The RSPCA promised to send an inspector that very afternoon. However, the RSPCA did not keep me informed of developments. That evening I sent an email to Birmingham City Council urging them to investigate this live poultry market not only because of animal welfare concerns, but also to ascertain the fact that Bismillah Halal Poultry Ltd has all the necessary permits to sell and transport live chickens.
In the following few days I did not receive a response from Birmingham City Council. This was unusual because they usually contact you via email within two days. The RSPCA also decided to remain mock silent. This Sunday, the live chicken market went ahead again. I am now going to petition Birmingham City Council and the RSPCA to ban Bismillah Halal Poultry Ltd from holding these live chicken poultry markets on the grounds they pose a health risk, and because Birmingham City Council has not informed me if Bismillah Halal Poultry complies with the strict live poultry sale laws and regulations that Defra expects.
If Bismillah Halal Poultry Ltd is still allowed to go ahead and hold these live poultry markets long-term, then it is in the public interest that this company register its flock or flocks on the Great Britain Poultry Register to prevent and trace the spread of disease. It is the law that all poultry sellers that sell more than 50 birds must register with the Animal Health and Veternary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA). Also the sale and transport of chickens requires permits issued by Defra.
Local Polish residents find the new live chicken market distasteful and medieval. Alum Rock Road has over 10 halal butcher shops, and this crass live poultry market is completely unnecessary. Please sign this petition to ban this live poultry market, and have Bismillah Halal Poultry Ltd held fully accountable if it did not have all the necessary permits to sell and transport live poultry. How on earth can this country improve the welfare of livestock in foreign slaughterhouses and livestock markets when this is happening right here on our doorstep? We must put our own house in order first before we can critisize anyone else's.