Dutch poultry free to roam as bird flu fears ease

22-11-2006 | |

The Dutch Agriculture Ministry has lifted restrictions that have kept poultry indoors to protect flocks from the threat of avian flu from migrating birds.

“The ban can be lifted because the monitoring of wild birds in the European Union showed no traces of the disease and there were no outbreaks reported in neighboring countries,” the ministry said in a statement.
The Netherlands ordered birds indoors from the beginning of September. The restrictions have been lifted, but an order to only feed and give water to commercial poultry indoors remains in place, the ministry said.
“It’s not clear why the virus remained so quiet this autumn,” Dutch Agriculture Minister Cees Veerman said.
“But we remain on alert because the threat stays in the long term,” Veerman said, adding that the housing restrictions may be reinstated if signs of a possible outbreak emerged.
The Netherlands, a top world poultry exporter, has never reported H5N1 avian influenza in commercial poultry.
Earlier this year, the Netherlands found a low-pathogenic H7N7 bird flu strain at a farm but it stamped out the disease quickly and prevented a major outbreak.