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Avian flu: Shut down wild bird markets, experts say

weak across much of Asia".

WCS says that one of the easiest and most obvious ways to reduce the threat of avian flu spreading both globally and regionally through the wild bird trade is to close down the wild bird markets within Asia, and for airlines to stop carrying large numbers of animals over large distances for commercial markets. The EU has already banned the import of pet birds from Asian countries where avian flu has been detected.

WCS also says that one proposed solution of killing the free-ranging wildlife will not solve the problem, and can have many unforeseen repercussions. For example, large-scale killing of sparrows and crows during the Great Leap Forward in China in the late 1950's resulted in failed rice crops and massive famine because the birds had actually been controlling pests.

Dr Robert Cook, Vice President of Wildlife Health at WCS , said, "In almost all cases, eradication schemes are not cost-efficient or effective means to reduce disease spread when compared to health education, sanitation, and controlling animal movement."


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Contact: Stephen Sautner
ssautner@wcs.org
718-220-3682
Wildlife Conservation Society
3-Feb-2004


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