The EU Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health has backed several Commission proposals to prolong certain measures aimed at preventing and controlling the spread of avian influenza in the EU until the end of the year.
It was agreed that the biosecurity measures in place to protect domestic flocks, such as keeping or feeding poultry indoors in identified high risk areas, should be extended until 31 December 2006.
The Standing Committee also agreed to extend the import ban on live captive birds from third countries until 31 July 2006. Restrictions on the movement of birds accompanying their owners should also continue until 31 July.
The Standing Committee supported a draft proposal from the Commission prolonging the EU import bans on poultry and poultry products from Bulgaria and Romania until 31 December 2006, with certain amendments to the restrictions.
The regionalised bans on Bulgarian and Romanian poultry meat and meat products will remain unchanged, while the same regionalisation will now also apply for the ban on importation into the EU of live poultry and hatching eggs from these countries.
These imports have been banned from the whole of Bulgaria and Romania up to this point. For Croatia, the regionalised ban on live birds, poultry and poultry products will be extended to cover the region of Zagreb, following confirmation in April of a new case of H5N1 in a wild swan there.
Swiss authorities shall apply the same rigorous prevention and control measures in their restriction zones in the event of a highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreak there, as are laid down in the EU Decisions for avian influenza in wild birds and in poultry. These are the same measures as applied by the EU member states when they detect an outbreak on their territory.
Austria submitted its vaccination programme to the Commission for approval, and will apply the programme in accordance with the rules on vaccinating zoo birds, which are based on the new avian influenza control Directive. Austria will now be added to the list of member states whose vaccination plans for zoo birds have already been approved.
It was also agreed that France could prolong its preventive vaccination programme for ducks and geese.