Measures to combat bird flu

Minister for Agriculture Sharon Dijksma will work with the poultry sector to achieve a structural reduction in the number of outbreaks of bird flu in the Netherlands, pledging to do so in a letter to Parliament. She also notified Parliament of her decision not to introduce national requirements to keep poultry indoors or under cover. She took this decision because expert advice indicates that there is no veterinary need for it. In the short term agreements are being worked out with Russia to strictly limit the economic damage caused by such outbreaks.

Agreements with Russia

In recent years when faced with an outbreak of bird flu Russia always applied an import ban on poultry and poultry products to the entire province where the outbreak was discovered. This week, at the request of the Minister, an official delegation has entered into discussions with the Russian authorities. They are now ready to make agreements on restricting their measures to the area around the holding where bird flu is confirmed. This could solve the most significant export problem arising from bird flu.

Structural measures

Minister Dijksma will very soon enter into consultations with the European Commission concerning scope within EU legislation for a method of covering outside runs which allows the free range status to be maintained while reducing outbreaks of bird flu. A covering of this type will require investment. The Minister would like relevant investments to be supported by means of investment grants under European agriculture policy.

Fewer outbreaks

The poultry sector itself has also taken action to reduce outbreaks of bird flu, such as issuing recommendations and drawing up future requirements in respect of hygiene. Minister Dijksma noted in her letter to Parliament that she was convinced that the package of actions and measures taken would reduce the incidence of bird flu.