Chicken vaccination wins EU backing

22nd February 2006, Comments 0 comments

22 February 2006, AMSTERDAM — The vaccination of poultry in the Netherlands against the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu will begin in two to three weeks, Dutch agriculture Minister Cees Veerman said on Wednesday.

22 February 2006

AMSTERDAM — The vaccination of poultry in the Netherlands against the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu will begin in two to three weeks, Dutch agriculture Minister Cees Veerman said on Wednesday.

The government, vets and the hobby poultry sector need the intervening period to prepare for the massive vaccination programme.

The European Commission gave conditional approval earlier on Wednesday for a French and Dutch demand  for the right to vaccinate millions of birds against avian influenza as a precaution. This is the first time the Commission has endorsed such a vaccination programme.

"The vaccination programmes are authorised only for specific birds in specified regions, and will be subject to rigorous surveillance and control requirements," the commission said in a statement.

"These include movement restrictions, strict monitoring of vaccinated flocks to ensure that there is no undetected outbreak of avian influenza, and careful record-keeping."

France and the Netherlands are the two largest poultry producers in the EU.

Veerman emphasised he could not give a guarantee that vaccinated birds would not be culled in the event of an outbreak of the deadly H5N1 strain. He said a decision whether to kill vaccinated birds would depend on the size and nature of the outbreak. "I would only grant permission in the event of an absolute veterinary emergency," he said.

Dutch officials said it was difficult to estimate at this stage how many private owners of poultry will apply to have their birds vaccinated. It will not be compulsory for people with hobby birds to have their birds injected.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]

Subject: Dutch news

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