Spain calls for ban on wild bird imports to Europe

24th October 2005, Comments 0 comments

24 October 2005, MADRID — Spain has joined growing calls to ban wild birds from being imported to European Union countries.

24 October 2005

MADRID — Spain has joined growing calls to ban wild birds from being imported to European Union countries.

Elena Espinosa, agriculture minister, said Madrid would support a ban which was suggested by Britain following the discovery of a parrot in quarantine in the UK with the deadly H5N1 strain of avian flu.

It is the same strain that killed 61 people in the Far East.

Meanwhile, as European experts considered new measures to stop the spread of the disease, a  further outbreak of bird flu was confirmed in Russia.

Reports say tests have confirmed the presence of the deadly H5N1 flu strain in samples taken from birds in the central Russian region of Tambov.

An increasing number of EU countries have also ordered farmers to ensure poultry is kept indoors.

The Russian outbreak is the latest in a country where bird flu has already decimated flocks in several regions in Siberia and the Urals in recent months.

Experts have downplayed the threat to people, as the virus does not spread easily among humans, but they warn of a potential deadly flu pandemic if it mutates to a more contagious form.

The European Commission is due to meet on Tuesday to discuss an EU-wide ban.

Europe's health commissioner Markos Kyprianou was expected to propose increasing preventative measures which have already led to bans on imports into the EU of live birds from Turkey, Romania, the Greek island of Chios, Russia and Thailand.

The Commission is expected to add Croatia to the list after bird flu was found in samples from wild swans in the east of the country.

The Netherlands has joined Austria, Switzerland and Germany urging people who keep birds to take safety measures.

The Dutch government said people who keep poultry as pets near areas where wild birds gather should keep them indoors from Monday until mid-November.

The Dutch poultry industry suffered massive losses after an outbreak of bird flu two years ago.

Bird-lovers in risk areas now have to shut their pets indoors to prevent contact with wild birds and their droppings around spots where migratory birds rest.

Similar measures apply to commercial and free-range poultry farms in risk areas.

The United Nations has said that the H5N1 strain is endemic in poultry in China, which is stepping up efforts to prevent the spread of bird flu to humans.

The Chinese government has announced that it is sending inspectors to farms, homes and markets to make regular checks on poultry and reinforce disease prevention controls.

Last week, the country's state media reported that at least 2,600 birds were killed by the H5N1 virus at a farm in the northern region of inner Mongolia.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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