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Poultry to be locked down as bird flu is detected in Antwerp province

Illustration picture shows chickens in a garden in Zwijndrecht, in Antwerp province. (BELGA PHOTO DAVID PINTENS)
05:26 18/11/2021

Anyone who keeps poultry must confine their birds after the H5N1 bird flu virus was detected in a wild goose in Schilde, Antwerp province, earlier this week. The order to keep the animals caged comes from the Federal Food Agency (FASFC) and federal agriculture minister David Clarinval.

"This indicates that again this virus is circulating in wild birds," a spokesperson for the FASFC said. "That is why, together with Minister Clarinval, we have taken some measures to protect poultry in our country: everyone who keeps poultry - both professionally and at home - must keep their animals locked up.”

"That doesn't necessarily have to be in a loft," the spokesperson added. "This can also be done by stretching nets above the chicken coop. The most important thing is that you shield your poultry from the wild birds, so that they cannot come into contact with your poultry."

In addition to shielding the animals, the FASFC also recommends giving your animals food and drink inside, so that wild birds are not attracted.

The FASFC emphasises that the bird flu virus is not dangerous for humans. "The bird flu virus is a virus that only affects birds. So, eggs and poultry can be consumed in complete safety."

The flamingos in Antwerp Zoo will also have to stay locked up. "Wild birds such as ducks can pass the virus on to the flamingos," said Ilse Segers, the communications manager of Antwerp Zoo.

The flamingos are now being moved to another protected, indoor aviary. They are no longer allowed to parade outside. "In principle, not much changes,” added Ilse Segers. “The public can still see them, but behind glass."

The zoo also has penguins that need to be protected, but nothing will change for them. Because a fox appeared in the zoo a while ago, there is already a net surrounding the penguins’ enclosure. This way, wild birds cannot come into contact with them.

Written by Nick Amies


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