EU stops importing pet birds from Pakistan
BRUSSELS: The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, suspended on Wednesday the import of pet birds, such as parrots, from Southeast Asia, which has been hit by bird flu.
Countries falling under this ban — which has immediate effect — are Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Pakistan, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam, a statement said. The decision was taken after consultations among the 15 EU members.s.
It aims to “exclude any risk of seeing the appearance of the (bird flu) virus in quarantine areas of member states” through which birds usually transit before entering the European Union, the statement said. Among the birds banned are parrots, parakeets, falcons and chaffinches.
The French government earlier Wednesday asked the European Commission to slap a ban on birds coming from Asian countries affected by outbreaks of avian flu. The ministry said the restriction would add to measures introduced against Thailand last week to keep the disease out of European poultry farms. On Tuesday the Dutch Agriculture Minister Cees Veerman also called for stricter measures to stop the virus that causes bird flu from entering the EU. Amsterdam airport is to install disinfectant carpets over the next few days in a bid to prevent the bird flu outbreak in Asia from creeping into the country on the shoes of travellers.
The carpets will be aimed at killing any bugs on the shoes of passengers of direct flights from the 10 Asian countries now affected by the avian flu. Last year some 100,000 pet birds — notably parrots and parakeets — were imported from Southeast Asia, mainly Pakistan, China and Indonesia.
Last week the European Union banned Thai chicken imports after Thailand belatedly confirmed it was suffering an outbreak of bird flu. The European Commission played down the risk to humans from the avian influenza but said it was acting to forestall any threat to European poultry. The ban may be reviewed by EU health experts at a February 2-3 meeting.