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de Brún welcomes EU ban on exotic bird imports

28 October, 2005

Following a decision by the European Union to ban imports of captive live birds from outside the bloc to strengthen its fight against bird flu, Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún said, 'I welcome this week's move as a positive step and one of a series of sensible measures that can be taken, focussing on prevention and the supply of accurate information'.

Ms de Brún said:

'We need to ensure that the general public has access to credible and accurate information. This is the best way to avoid unwarranted anxiety and panic. This is a disease that affects mainly poultry at present and there are some sensible measures that can be taken to hamper its spread.

'The announcement about a ban on the import of exotic birds is a sensible precautionary measure.

'Sinn Féin agrees with the RSPB that measures to control the spread of the virus should focus on improved bio security, particularly in the international poultry industry, and an immediate ban on imports of wild birds into the EU.

'We also agree with the World Health Organization and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation that culls of wild birds would be ineffective in tackling avian influenza, and could in fact make the situation worse.

'There is a value at a global level of those countries currently free of the disease considering a ban on imports of domestic poultry and wild birds for the pet trade from affected regions. Culling infected poultry flocks in the event of an outbreak would also seem sensible, and preventing public access to infected sites is also clearly a wise precaution.

'Finally, while we are not dealing with a disease that can transmit easily from human to human at this time, the EU and EU member states need to have co-ordinated plans to deal with such a situation should it arise.' ENDS

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