MEP in bird flu boycott call
MEP Robert Sturdy has called for an immediate ban on poultry imported from countries with confirmed cases of bird flu.The International Trade spokesman believes the ban is essential to prevent the deadly H5N1 virus reaching the United Kingdom and to protect our poultry industry.
By Roddy Ashworth
MEP Robert Sturdy has called for an immediate ban on poultry imported from countries with confirmed cases of bird flu.
The International Trade spokesman believes the ban is essential to prevent the deadly H5N1 virus reaching the United Kingdom and to protect our poultry industry.
He said: “We are faced with an extremely worrying scenario now that bird flu has been confirmed as causing the death of a cat and cannot predict what unexpected twists it will take next. What we know is that it is only a matter of time before it reaches the United Kingdom and, in the words of the Government's chief scientific adviser, it could stay with us for five years.
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“This only leaves one sensible course of action -that is for Defra to place an immediate ban on all poultry imports from countries that have confirmed outbreaks of the H5N1 virus. The World Trade Organisation rules allow for import bans to be imposed in such cases. As a deadly virus, we should be extra vigilant and do all we can to keep it out of our country; hence the urgent need for a ban.
“We are entering unknown territory as bird flu continues to take a grip. Meanwhile, there are grave concerns that the government will mishandle this, just as it did the foot and mouth crisis which saw thousands of cattle slaughtered needlessly. The French government did not hesitate to place an immediate and illegal ban on British beef during the BSE crisis - and BSE is not highly contagious like bird flu. I then led a protest march in Paris and was detained by the police. Now it is our turn to act swiftly to ban poultry from France, as well as from other countries which have had the virus.
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“It is crucial that we do all we can to protect our poultry industry; almost half of the country's poultry comes from East Anglia which I represent and the industry would welcome this ban. We must also act to safeguard our wildlife.”