News update:Aug 2, 2006

Increased fines and jail sentences for failing to report AI

Thai farmers who fail to report poultry mortalities within 12 hours face up to two months in prison and fines as high as 4,000 baht (US$106), according to Agriculture Minister Sudarat Keyuraphan.

Land borders to fowl trade have also been closed to stem outbreaks of bird flu that killed a 17-year-old man last week.

Provinces that border Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar were ordered to ban poultry from those countries, with those violating the ban also facing similar fines and potential prison time

"The new rules are very harsh and will help resolve this problem,'' Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra told reporters in Bangkok. "The main problem now is that poultry owners are reluctant to report deaths for fear that officials will order the culling of all of their poultry.''

Thailand, the world's fourth-largest poultry exporter, is trying to control its first outbreak of the H5N1 avian influenza virus this year.

The H5N1 virus is known to have killed 134 people, most of them through contact with birds, and might kill millions more if the virus mutates into a strain that is easily transmissible between humans.

Meanwhile, Thai officials are blaming infected used egg trays from Laos for the spread of H5N1 into Thailand.

Charal Trinvuthipong, Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry's assistant confirms that the failure to control the movement of used egg trays from Laos has been a mistake and governors of the border provinces have now been instructed to block the movement of used egg trays from entering into the country.

While almost all farms in the central region have switched to closed system farming, he says, some farms in the north eastern border region are still open system.

More news and information on avian influenza/bird flu.

Editor WorldPoultry

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