Comprehensive action needed to prevent wide-scale culling of birds following Avian Influenza cases

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Comprehensive action needed to prevent wide-scale culling of birds following Avian Influenza cases

22 November 2014
News
Is it happening again? Another case of avian influenza in yet another EU country! And now control measures are underway, including the culling of thousands of farmed chickens and ducks using carbon dioxide gas, according to media reports. Following the recent detection of bird flu at a poultry farm in the Netherlands, another case at […]
The post Comprehensive action needed to prevent wide-scale culling of birds following Avian Influenza cases appeared first on Eurogroup for Animals.

Is it happening again? Another case of avian influenza in yet another EU country! And now control measures are underway, including the culling of thousands of farmed chickens and ducks using carbon dioxide gas, according to media reports.

Following the recent detection of bird flu at a poultry farm in the Netherlands, another case at a duck breeding farm in the UK, as well as a scare in Germany earlier this November, it is clear that avian influenza is not just a thing of the past. These cases show that transmissible animal diseases know no borders, and comprehensive EU action is needed to prevent animal diseases and associated culling and animal suffering.

Over the past 11 years, there have been numerous avian influenza outbreaks in the EU that have severely impacted on the health and welfare of millions of poultry. The Avian Influenza outbreaks of 2003 and 2006 led to the mass culling of millions of farmed birds, and now it seems to be happening again on a smaller scale at present in the Netherlands with the culling of 150,000 chickens in the village of Hekendorp. But is this just the beginning? How many more reactive ‘control measures’ will be taken before all is said and done? What will the impact be on the birds and on the farmers?

“Needless to say, animal disease outbreaks have serious impacts not just on animals but also on the economy and the lives of farmers. And more needs to be done to prevent the spread of such diseases using integrated measures that recognize the importance of good animal husbandry practices for preventing disease and which may include preventive vaccination,” stated Reineke Hameleers, Director at Eurogroup for Animals.

She added “Eurogroup for Animals calls for immediate action at EU level and for the finalisation of the EU Animal Health Law. This Law should work to prevent the outbreak of transmissible diseases and minimise animal suffering by ensuring only the best available means are employed that respect animal welfare. Let this be a reminder to EU policy makers not to run away from their responsibility to protect the health and welfare of Europe’s animals and citizens.”

Let this be a reminder to EU policy makers not to run away from their responsibility to protect the health and welfare of Europe’s animals and citizens.
Reineke Hameleers, Director at Eurogroup for Animals