Poultry to be kept indoors in the whole country
In Finland poultry may not be kept outdoors between 1 March and - 31 May 2007. This applies to the whole country. The Decree of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry concerning the prevention of the spread of avian influenza from wild birds to poultry was issued on Thursday 8 February.
During the spring migration wild birds arrive in Europe and Finland from regions where avian influenza has been found in winter, which means that the possibility of an outbreak of the disease in Europe cannot be excluded. The cases found recently on two goose farms in Hungary and one turkey farm in Great Britain show this very clearly. Unlike last year, no Finnish municipalities with a higher risk have been identified, but the same requirements apply in all parts of the country and to all farmed birds, including hens kept for own use and organic farms.
However, poultry may be kept out of doors in e.g. a covered cage, provided that both farmed aquatic birds (geese or ducks) and other poultry intended for commercial production of meat or eggs are not kept simultaneously on the same premises. The municipal veterinarian must be notified before the birds are released outdoors so that the veterinarian may check that the outdoor cage is sufficiently protected. Where necessary, the Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira will issue further requirements on the protection of poultry that is kept outdoors. Poultry exhibitions are also prohibited during the spring. The restrictions may be extended until June or even longer if the disease situation so requires.
According to the law, the producer must notify immediately to the municipal veterinarian or provincial veterinary officer of any exceptional mortality in poultry, symptoms pointing to avian influenza or changes in the production. Decrease in the consumption of water or feed or in egg production may be a sign of avian influenza infection on the farms. The veterinary officer assesses the situation and, if no other reasonable cause for the changes is detected, sends samples of the birds to the Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira for examination.
Examinations of wild birds for avian influenza will be carried out in the same way as last year. Findings of several dead birds, especially aquatic birds, must always be reported to the municipal veterinarian.
Matti Aho, Director-General, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, tel. 358 (0)9 160 53380, 358 (0)40 516 9857
Mikael Karring, Deputy Director-General, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, tel. 358 (0)9 160 53337, 358 (0)50 367 1040
Taina Aaltonen, Senior Veterinary Officer, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry tel. 358 (0)9 160 53437, 358 (0)40 723 3887
Sirpa Kiviruusu, Senior Veterinary Officer, Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira, tel. 358 (0)2077 24216