Farm netting to prevent AI spread
Taiwan, an island haven for wild birds escaping harsh
Siberian winters, is covering its poultry and pig farms with nets to prevent
migratory birds from infecting local flocks with bird flu.
has allocated 1
billion New Taiwan dollars (US$30 million) toward plastic and steel netting,
which will be used to cover the island's 20,000 poultry and pig farms.
Farm owners are expected to cover half of the costs, and are willing to do
so because the netting will also stop birds from stealing feed.
Each September, wild birds migrate to Taiwan across Japan and Korea or over
the east coast of China, which has suffered at least 14 human deaths from bird
flu since 2003.
Taiwan has not reported any human cases of H5N1, but several fowl smuggled
from China tested positive for the avian
virus last year.
Huang Kuo-chin, an Agricultural Council official in charge of quarantine,
said the first farms to get the nets were those near marshes and swamps where
migratory birds settle.
Taiwan has also set up 10 stations to monitor migratory birds and created
an alert system to be activated if any of the birds are found to be carrying
"Although we haven't had any confirmed bird flu cases, Taiwan is one of the
Southeast Asian countries that has taken the most stringent precautionary
measures," Huang said.
Taiwanese quarantine officials will visit their counterparts on the
mainland later this month to track the routes of migratory birds and seek more
effective measures to prevent bird flu.
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