Dutch farmers shun bird flu vaccination for now
Many Dutch farmers are choosing to wait rather than
vaccinate poultry now against bird flu because they fear a negative effect on
exports, industry groups said this week.
The Netherlands launched preventive vaccination on
Thursday 16 March for its 1-3 million backyard poultry and about 5 million
free-range poultry against the highly pathogenic H5N1 avian flu virus after
receiving EU permission on Feb. 22.
But the Dutch poultry farmers
organisation said most farmers have not started vaccinating because the biggest
importer of Dutch poultry, Germany, refuses to buy meat and eggs from vaccinated
animals as consumers fear possible health risk.
Some 70% of all Dutch
poultry exports go to Germany. The Netherlands is a top world poultry exporter
with annual sales of 1.5 billion euros ($1.82 billion) and Europe's second
biggest producer after France.
Some of the 130 Dutch organic poultry farmers
are also holding off vaccination for now because of export worries. "When we see
that consumers in Germany want our eggs then farmers will start vaccinating
massively," organic poultry farmers spokesman Christian Borren said.
farmers are also worried that more countries outside the European Union will
follow Japan's decision to ban Dutch poultry imports after the vaccination
started. The Netherlands main poultry export markets are Germany, Britain,
Belgium, France, Ukraine, Japan, Poland and Russia.
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