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Hungary orders poultry indoors amid bird flu concern

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Oscar Rousseau

By Oscar Rousseau+

Last updated on 03-Feb-2017 at 12:46 GMT2017-02-03T12:46:51Z

Hungarian farmers will have to move chickens indoors as bird flu remains a risk
Hungarian farmers will have to move chickens indoors as bird flu remains a risk

Hungary’s chief veterinarian Lajos Bognar has ordered the nation’s poultry industry to keep birds indoors as the country grapples with highly pathogenic avian influenza (HAPI).

Bognar is chief vet at NÉBIH, Hungary’s governmental food safety agency, and wants all poultry moved indoors to prevent the risk of wild birds or ducks carrying HAPI to a farm.

The new directive rules all poultry must be kept indoors. If this is not possible, the run must be adequately covered with wire mesh. Indoor poultry producers must also provide adequate ventilation.

NÉBIH has confirmed farmers will receive full, state-paid indemnity for direct losses incurred from disease control measures. So far, 45 producers have collectively received HUF 1.16bn (€3.7m) in compensation.

7-nation trade ban

It remains crucial that farmers strictly adhere to the overall disease control rules and notify their veterinarian or the veterinary authority if any symptoms of the [HAPI] disease are detected,” Bognar said in a press release.

Since the autumn of 2016, Europe has seen an avian influenza epidemic of the H5N8 strain rip through 11 European countries, including the UK, Germany , the Netherlands and Hungary .

South Africa, Israel, Japan, Hong Kong, Canada, Serbia and Singapore have all recently banned imports of Hungarian poultry , over HAPI concern.

So far, more than three million birds across Europe have been culled to control the outbreak. This has cost the poultry industry around HUF 3.5bn (€11m), according to NÉBIH.

The H5N8 strain has also been identified as far afield as China, India, Kuwait and Nigeria in 2017 already.

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