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. UN Body Says EU Ban On Wild Bird Imports Won't Help Stop Bird Flu

CITES said the international wild bird trade is already subject to stringent controls, and has declined from an estimated 7.5 million birds a year in 1975, when CITES was formed, to around 1.5 million today. In contrast, the global trade in live domestic poultry involves some 750 million birds a year, CITES noted.
by Staff Writers
Geneva (AFP) Jan 12, 2007
An EU decision to maintain a ban on wild bird imports will not help prevent the spread of bird flu, a United Nations agency warned on Friday. The European Commission said on Thursday that while it was lifting its ban on live poultry imports, it would keep the ban in place for all birds caught in the wild, such as falcons or parakeets.

However, the UN's Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) called the move "disappointing".

CITES doubted that the step would have any impact in preventing the spread of infectious diseases such as bird flu, not least as the EU's ban does not apply to poultry.

"We understand the need to combat the threat of avian influenza, but the definitive and inflexible nature of the decision appears disproportionate and risks to hamper conservation efforts in developing countries," said CITES secretary-general Willem Wijnstekers in a statement.

CITES said the international wild bird trade is already subject to stringent controls, and has declined from an estimated 7.5 million birds a year in 1975, when CITES was formed, to around 1.5 million today.

In contrast, the global trade in live domestic poultry involves some 750 million birds a year, CITES noted.

A recent analysis by the conservation alliance Birdlife International showed that just 0.05 percent of the world's bird species appear to be significantly threatened by international trade, the UN agency noted.

Conversely, it warned that the EU's move could provide a spur to the black market and unregulated trade.

"By ending legal and tightly managed imports, the EU risks driving the market underground and making it less transparent," CITES said.

In announcing the new guidelines, the EU said:"Given the high risk of infection from wild birds, only birds bred in captivity and in approved breeding establishments will be allowed to enter the EU."

Source: Agence France-Presse

Related Links
UN Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
The science and news of Epidemics on Earth

AIDS Plan Faces Deadly Deficit
Washington (UPI) Jan 05, 2007
If Congress allows a funding shortfall in a key global AIDS relief program to continue, more than 100,000 people could die, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Mark Dybul said this week. The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR, is a five-year, $15 billion program designed with yearly increases in funding. But Congress has yet to approve $900 million in expected funding for 2007.

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