Khaleej Times (United Arab Emirates)
August 21, 2005

Import of birds from Mongolia banned

By Meraj Rizvi

DUBAI -- The Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Saeed Mohammed Al
Raghabani, issued a decision on Sunday banning the import of live
birds and their products from Mongolia as a precautionary measure
against possible transmission of bird flu in the country.

The ban was imposed after the ministry received information from the
World Health Organisation regarding the spread of avian bird flu virus
in Mongolia.

In addition to imposing the temporary ban on import of live birds from
various countries, including Russia recently, the ministry officials,
at a meeting in Abu Dhabi, discussed precautionary measures to prevent
the entry of bird flu into the country.

The meeting, which was presided over by Obaid Juma Al Matroushi,
Acting Under-Secretary of the Ministry, was attended by officials from
the General Secretariat of the UAE Municipalities, Abu Dhabi
Environmental Authority, Environmental Affairs and Public Health
Department, Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority, Department of
Municipalities and Agriculture in Al Ain, and Abu Dhabi and Dubai

According to Obaid Al Matroushi, the meeting took stock of the
situation, and went into various aspects of bird flu including the
causes of the disease, how it spreads, it's dangers, symptoms in birds
and human beings and carriers of the infection, particularly migratory

The meeting, he said, dealt with three topics, including the general
health of the people, protection to poultry-breeding in the country
and falcons used for hunting in the UAE. He said the ministry had
carried out surveys on a number of ailments among animals in the
country with particular emphasis on birds flu to prevent its entry and
spread in the country.

The surveys, he said, included poultry and bird markets, poultry
farms, falcon breeding centres and UAE-bound bird consignments at
various inlets.

The Ministry gets advance information on the issue from the UN, World
Health Organisation and the Food and Agriculture Organisation, he
said, adding that the decisions taken by the ministry are based on the
information received from those organisations. The meeting stressed on
the importance of mapping out a long-term emergency plan in which all
the authorities concerned in the country like the Ministry of
Agriculture, Municipalities and Health should participate.

The participants stressed on the need to control what they termed as
haphazard breeding of poultry, which might facilitate spread of
infection since such farms lack veterinary surveillance. The Abu Dhabi
Environmental Authority expressed its willingness to study the routes
and habitats of migratory birds in all the emirates of the country,
and not merely in Abu Dhabi. The Authority said it would also conduct
laboratory tests if they detected any ailment in the migratory birds.

The authority said it would also specify countries from where birds
can be imported, which would be based on accredited international

The meeting stressed on the importance of upgrading veterinary
quarantine, which should be reinforced with facilities and well-
trained staff to prevent the entry of epidemics across the borders
through imported livestock and by-products.

Other measures include creating awareness among cattle and poultry
breeders and importers on the hazards and risks of common diseases
among humans and animals, and ways of protection.

The meeting also agreed to organise a joint meeting between the
epidemics team at the Ministry of Agriculture and the Veterinary
Control Panel at the General secretariat of the UAE Municipalities to
discuss control and combat mechanisms for animal diseases within a

Copyright 2005 Khaleej Times