EU veterinary experts will soon discuss plans to ban imports of live captive and pet birds, another measure to prevent the spread of bird flu within the European Union, the EU's health chief said on Monday.
LUXEMBOURG EU veterinary experts will soon discuss plans to ban imports of live captive and pet birds, another measure to prevent the spread of bird flu within the European Union, the EU's health chief said on Monday.
Speaking after a meeting of EU agriculture ministers, EU Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner Markos Kyprianou said the temporary ban would be proposed to vets representing the EU's 25 member states at a meeting on Tuesday in Brussels.
"It will be a general ban, not just on one specific country, on imports of captive birds. And we also have to regulate pet birds ... there has to be control of imports of these birds as they can also transmit disease," he told a news conference.
The EU imports 1.76 million birds destined to be pets each year, German animal charity Pro Wildlife has said.
London called for the ban on Sunday after an imported South American parrot died in quarantine in Britain of the virulent H5N1 strain of bird flu that has killed over 60 people in Asia.
H5N1 has spread since it surfaced two years ago in South Korea. Wild birds have brought it this autumn to Europe's flank, with cases confirmed in Russia, Turkey and Romania, where the Danube delta is a haven for migrating fowl.
The EU vets are also expected to rubberstamp the Commission's proposal, announced on Friday, for an import ban live birds, feathers and feathered game from Croatia after the country detected a bird flu virus in wild swans.
Checks for avian flu are continuing on birds from Greece and Macedonia further south in the Balkans. Kyprianou said results from Greece, where one turkey on a small eastern Aegean island has tested positive for the H5 bird flu, would be due shortly to determine whether the strain is H5N1 or not.
"The first round of tests were negative," he said.
"Now we can expect a second round of tests from samples that were sent to the Community (EU) laboratory (in Britain) during the weekend. So in a couple of days we will have the results of those as well."