Local authorities in the Sharon region are offering NIS 2,000 a day to anyone willing to work in "putting poultry to sleep," if the avian flu should reach there.

The work is being offered for a period of up to seven days. The birds are "put to sleep" in two stages. First they are starved and deprived of water, and then they are given poisoned water to drink.

Sources at the Union of Local Authorities and the Agriculture Ministry said the high wages are being offered because of the shortage of workers willing to do the job. He said that Thai workers employed in agriculture had thought about it and then declined, because they were afraid of catching the bird flu. Interest among Israelis has also been negligible. They said it was urgent to find workers as part of the effort to stop the spread of bird flu into the Sharon Region and the Galilee.

Every prospective worker is required to sign a declaration that he will not sue his employer if he catches the avian flu.

Preference will be given to workers with an agricultural background, and those with experience in working with animals.