EU vets expected to approve ban on exotic bird imports

European Union veterinary experts were today expected to approve an EU-wide ban on the import of exotic birds and stricter rules on the private ownership of such pet birds.

European Union veterinary experts were today expected to approve an EU-wide ban on the import of exotic birds and stricter rules on the private ownership of such pet birds.

The move was being considered after a parrot, imported from Surinam, died in quarantine in Britain over the weekend after contracting the H5N1 flu strain. It was believed the parrot was infected by other birds in quarantine.

The EU experts panel – which has been meeting weekly to review measures for preventing the spread of bird flu in the 25-nation bloc – was also to assess the latest positive cases in Croatia.

The reported cases from Croatia yesterday prompted the European Commission to issue a precautionary ban on imports of live poultry, wild birds and feathers from that Balkan country. The EU experts were today expected to endorse that ban.

Samples from Croatia have been sent to the EU’s reference laboratory at Weybridge to see whether the bird flu found is the H5N1 strain. Results were expected later this week.

Before the EU decision on Croatia was announced, Zagreb said it would halt all poultry and feather exports after the discovery of six infected swans last week.

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