Ministry of Economic Affairs

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Risk of bird flu diminished: national measures cancelled

Minister for Agriculture Martijn van Dam has withdrawn nearly all national measures taken to prevent the spread of bird flu, such as the confinement and protection obligation. According to the expert group on animal diseases, the risk of bird flu being passed on by wild waterfowl has reduced to such an extent that the measures are no longer necessary. The measures were put in place to combat the spread of bird flu and minimise the risk of infection at poultry farms.

The last outbreak of bird flu in the Netherlands was on 23 March, although only an amateur chicken owner was affected. The last outbreak to affect a commercial poultry farm was on 25 December 2016, while the last discovery of an infected wild waterfowl was on 15 March. There has also been a decline in bird flu in the countries around us such as Germany, France, the UK and Belgium. Therefore, based on a new risk assessment by bird-flu experts, it has been decided that nearly all national measures can be withdrawn.

Minister for Agriculture Van Dam: ‘Thankfully, the experts believe the risk of bird flu spreading has reduced to such an extent that I have been able to cancel nearly all measures. It was unfortunate these measures were necessary for so long, but I'm relieved the number of outbreaks was kept to a minimum.’

Measures

The only national measures to provisionally remain in place are the hygiene measures required before entering the property and the units. These hygiene measures reduce the introduction of all kinds of diseases into the units. All other measures, such as the ban on exhibitions of at-risk birds and the compulsory one-on-one transport to and from duck and turkey farms, will also be cancelled. The national measures were in place for over five months.

Numbers

In the period from 9 November 2016 until 19 April 2017, eight poultry businesses and one commercial bird trader were infected with bird flu, and a total of 15 businesses had to cull their animals. A total of 727,500 birds were culled, including 503,000 chickens, 217,900 ducks and 6,600 other birds. 335,000 chickens were preventively culled.