More than a thousand poultry breeding and trading companies have signed a petition letter calling on government departments to stop using the term 'avian' in respect to the H7N9 influenza virus, saying the link has caused catastrophic losses to their industry.
The letter organised by the China Animal Husbandry Association says that 'avian flu' is not an official term used by WHO and should not be used by ministries such as the National Health and Family Planning Commission.
The companies said the warnings about live poultry had caused panic among consumers who shunned the products, leading to a billion yuan in economic losses fr the industry. The poultry industry leaders said ther use of the term 'avian' was irresponsible and unscientific and should not be used. They said if ministries did not stop using the term they would take legal action to force them "to safeguard the rights and interests of the industry members".
The industry association also called on the government to take immediate measures to save the poultry industry.