Swift action needed on bird flu outbreak

Strasbourg, 13th November 2007 — DEFRA must move swiftly and ruthlessly to identify, contain and trace the origins of the Norfolk bird flu outbreak, said Sir Robert Atkins MEP, Conservative Deputy Leader in the European Parliament.

Conservatives were responsible for steering the European Union’s bird flu preparation directive, now being enacted through the European Parliament.

He said:

“This is an extremely worrying development and for farmers it is the absolute last thing they need. DEFRA is right to close the area down quickly and must ensure that the exclusion zone is properly enforced. They must act ruthlessly to stamp out the disease and identify its source.

“Outbreaks of bird flu are going to be a sad reality across Europe; it is how our government handles them that will be important.

“DEFRA must keep all poultry keepers informed. During the last outbreak, keepers complained that not enough information was being provided and not quickly enough. Farmers must know exactly what they have to do.

“Stamping this out quickly is important to the viability of the whole industry.”

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