BRUSSELS, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- European Union (EU)
member states decided on Tuesday to reinforce control measures in Britain
following two confirmed outbreaks of bird flu in the past weeks.
At the same time, veterinary experts from member
states agreed to further ease controls for the foot-and-mouth disease in
Following a second outbreak of bird flu on the border
of Norfolk and Suffolk on Monday, the veterinary experts voted to expand the
protection and surveillance zones slightly to incorporate the newly affected
In both the protection and surveillance zones,
on-farm bio-security measures have been strengthened and the authorities are
ensuring that all poultry owners are fully aware of the procedures to stop the
further spread of the virus.
The experts decided that the buffer area around these
zones remains the same.
The British authorities on Monday informed the
European Commission that bird flu had been confirmed on another holding,
situated within the protection zone set up after last week's outbreak.
The farm had been considered a "dangerous contact"
holding, as it was owned by the same company and shared workers with the holding
where the outbreak occurred last week.
All 9,000 turkeys on the holding have been culled and
epidemiological investigations are being carried out to try to determine the
source of the outbreaks.
On another front, the experts agreed to move more
districts in Britain to the category of "low risk zone" for foot-and-mouth
disease. It means that animal movement restrictions will be lifted and the trade
of meat and meat products from susceptible animals can resume.
There has been no outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease
in Britain since mid-September, and the prevention and control measures that
have been rigorously implemented appear to have been successful in eradicating
the virus, said the commission, the executive body of the EU.
Under today's decision, a high risk zone of about 40
kilometers radius surrounding the holdings where the outbreaks occurred remains
in place, in which movement restrictions will continue to apply.
However, it was agreed on Tuesday that fresh meat and
meat products will now be allowed to be dispatched from the high risk zone,
subject to stringent animal health conditions. These include a 21-day
pre-slaughter standstill for the animals used to produce the meat, and ante- and
post-mortem inspections for possible signs of foot-and-mouth disease. The meat
must then be quarantined for 24 hours and can only be dispatched if there was no
suspicion of disease in the holding of origin.