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Avian Influenza

Volume 406: debated on Thursday 12 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent representations her Department has received about chicken influenza in Germany and Holland and importing poultry from these countries; and if she will make a statement. [117139]

Aside from three written Parliamentary Questions and three letters from MPs, Defra has received letters from the National Farmers Union and the British Egg Industry Council concerning the outbreak of Avian Influenza (AI) in the Netherlands and the affected part of Germany.European Community law (Council Directive 92/40/ EEC) lays down procedures for controlling AI outbreaks in EU member states. The measures taken by the Dutch and German authorities and endorsed by the European Commission follow the rules laid down in this Directive.In line with Community Law, in March 2003 Defra issued a Declaration under Regulation 27 of the Animals and Animal (Import and Export) (England and Wales) Regulations 2000 introducing a ban on the import of live poultry, hatching eggs and racing/show pigeons from the Netherlands. Further Declarations have been issued prohibiting the import of poultry and hatching eggs from the affected part of Germany. Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland introduced similar measures.The European Commission is keeping all member states informed of the AI situation in the Netherlands and in the affected part of Germany. The Government are satisfied that the German and Dutch Authorities are doing all that is needed to control the disease.Defra will continue to monitor the situation in both Germany and the Netherlands. Officials have reviewed and updated the AI contingency arrangements and the Department is in close touch with the UK poultry industry about measures we would take should AI appear here.

Defra has kept the industry informed and up to date information on the AI situation may be obtained from the Defra website.