Bird flu lock-up comes into force in Belgium
1 March 2006, BRUSSELS — A compulsory lock-up order for poultry came into force in Belgium on Wednesday to ward off a threatened outbreak of the bird flu.
1 March 2006
BRUSSELS — A compulsory lock-up order for poultry came into force in Belgium on Wednesday to ward off a threatened outbreak of the bird flu.
On order from the federal government, poultry must be kept inside or screened from wild birds by gauze or netting.
The measure applies to both professional and hobby poultry farmers.
However, it is not yet certain when the restrictions will be lifted, public news service VRT reported.
"But probably as long as the spring migratory period," Federal Food Agency spokesman Pascal Houbaert said.
Amid a worrying increase in bird flu infections across the EU, the lock-up order is designed to ward off an outbreak of the virus in Belgium.
The federal government initially opted for a compulsory lock-up order for poultry in risk environmental areas, but decided last week to extend that measure nationwide.
"People are allowed to let their animals outside, but they must keep them screened off from the outside world by gauze or netting," Houbaert said. "If you want to feed them, preferably do that inside".
Houbaert warned poultry owners that police will be conducting inspections, but will not immediately take action.
"People who have not screened their poultry or birds off will first get a warning and 24 hours to get things in order. Only after that will a summons be issued."
However, newspaper 'Het Belang van Limburg' reported on Wednesday that police will not be carrying out checks in the Flemish province of Limburg.
Police have insufficient personnel and will not carry out targeted inspections because of other priorities, the newspaper said.
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Belgian news