Chickens ordered indoors due to flu scare
16 August 2005
AMSTERDAM — Agriculture Minister Cees Veerman has ordered farms to keep all poultry indoors during the bird migration season to minimise the risk of an outbreak of bird flu in the Netherlands
Farms will have to keep their poultry in sheds until the end of the year and perhaps longer.
The regulation announced on Tuesday only relates to commercially-farmed birds and not to hobby poultry because the ministry believes the latter poses a “much smaller risk”.
Veerman is to talk to representatives of the commercial poultry industry and the European Commission before deciding when the outdoor ban comes into effect on farms.
Reuters news agency reported that Russia has warned that an outbreak of the H5N1 strain of bird flu recently identified in the Urals city of Chelyabinsk could spread to Europe and the Middle East, as migratory birds move into warmer areas before winter after nesting in Siberia.
It is unclear at this stage if organic farmers in the Netherlands will also have to lock up their poultry.
There are tens of millions of chicken and other poultry in Dutch farms. The top three “laying hen provinces” are Gelderland with 547 farms and 8.4 million birds; Noord Brabant with 254 farms and 5.7 million birds and Limburg with 184 farms and 5.6 million animals.
Veerman introduced the outdoor ban on the advice of a committee of experts, including virologist Albert Osterhaus. A majority in Parliament called on Veerman last week to introduce the ban.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]
Subject: Dutch news