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EU bans wild bird imports over H5N1 fears

Date Published: 26/10/2005

A ban on commercial bird imports and restrictions on bringing pet birds into the region has been imposed by the EU.

Member states have backed the proposal from the EU Commission for the ban – a move that has been welcomed by Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Margaret Beckett.

In a statement Mrs Beckett said: “I am very pleased that our European partners have agreed to take this action.

“It is an important decision which is necessary to strengthen measures to keep the virus out of the European Union.

“It is the latest in a number of measures being taken to help us limit the spread of the disease should it occur.

“Last week, we announced a single register of commercial poultry businesses would be set up. Earlier this autumn a survey of wild birds was begun and our contingency plan has been updated.

“I believe the UK is prepared for any outbreak should it happen but we urge all bird and poultry keepers to remain vigilant for the disease.”

As the largest certifier of organic poultry in Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Organic Farmers & Growers has welcomed the news.

OF&G Business Manager, Richard Jacobs, said: “This is a serious threat to the UK organic poultry industry and any measures to try and restrict that threat must be taken.”