February 21, 2006


Pakistan bans poultry imports from India, Iran and France



Pakistan banned poultry imports from India, Iran and France on Monday Feb 20, while prohibiting wild bird hunting to protect against bird flu, an official said.


Pakistan does not import much poultry from these three countries, which recently reported cases of bird flu, said Rana Mohammed Akhlaq, an official at the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock.


But the government imposed the ban on imports to prevent people from bringing in birds from the three countries, especially from neighbouring India and Iran, Akhlaq said.


Wild bird hunting was also banned to prevent hunters from killing migratory birds and having them come in contact with chickens they raise, Akhlaq said.


"The ban (on hunting) is on every type of birds. If the birds are not mixed, there will be no threat of bird flu," Akhlaq said.


Pakistan has yet to report a case of bird flu in the past two years. But in 2003, between 3 million and 4 million chickens were killed after an outbreak of the H7N3 strain of bird flu.