Hualien halts poultry farms’ construction amid local opposition

Hualien  The Hualien County government said Tuesday that it will revoke business licenses it issued to Charoen Pokphand Enterprise (Taiwan) Co. (CP Taiwan) for the construction of six large-scale poultry farms, amid protests by residents over their possible environmental impact.

Hualien Magistrate Hsu Chen-wei announced the move at a press conference, saying that the company had lost the trust of residents and the government and had shown no interest in communicating or trying to reach a consensus.

The six farms in Hualien’s Shoufeng, Fenglin and Guangfu townships would have housed some 375,000 chickens, but sparked controversy because of their locations on traditional indigenous land and near sites with high environmental risks, such as residential areas and bodies of water.

Although CP Taiwan purchased the properties in 2018, activists claim that local residents were only informed of the plans for the land at a presentation in early April.

In response, the residents launched a petition and have held 10 protests against the farms’ construction, with the next rally planned for June 30 in front of Hualien City Government Hall.

Faced with the controversy, the company said on June 5 that it would temporarily halt construction until it could reach an agreement with the area’s residents.

However, in a letter to activists on June 11, it stated that there was no need to hold further public hearings on the issue, which Hsu called disrespectful to local residents and contrary to the company’s earlier promise to hold talks.

The Hualien County government encourages outside investment, but must respect the land and benefit the area’s residents, Hsu said.

Meanwhile, CP Taiwan said it “strongly protested” the move and will take legal action to appeal or seek compensation.

It further accused the county government of failing to protect its commercial rights and condoning the spread of false information that turned local opinion against it.

CP Taiwan is a subsidiary of the Charoen Pokphand Group (CP Group), a Thai conglomerate that is among the world’s largest producers of shrimp, pork and poultry.

 

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel

 

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