Waterbird culling appeal ‘a travesty’

Hilko insei, an exotic bird breeder from bon accord, north of pretoria

Hilko insei, an exotic bird breeder  from Bon accord, north of pretoria, has been granted leave to appeal  against an order by the pretoria  high court which required that his  entire collection of waterbirds be  culled. his appeal was set to be  heard on 1 September.the culling  of more than 800 of insel’s  waterbirds, valued at more than R2 million, was ordered  by the department of agriculture  after tests at onderstepoort revealed  that the birds carried the h5  bird flu virus, the deadly strain of which is h5n1. the tests were  carried out after the department  found that insel had bought 95  birds from a farm in mooi nooi,  near rustenberg in north west.

it is believed the mooi nooi  farmer illegally imported  waterbird eggs from holland,  where bird flu recently broke  out the department has already  culled the 95 birds insel bought  from the mooi nooi farm according to prof bruce alan Johnson,spoke- sperson for the Sa poultry association, the appeal sets aside the animal diseases control act. this act states the department may determine  the manner in which animals which  may be infected shall be treated or  disposed of. “it has become a very  complicated case, but it shouldn’t be.  we have an animal disease control  act in the country, but then someone  comes along and wants the act tobe ignored so his birds won’t be  culled. this puts the public and  farmers at risk. it’s a travesty really,  it goes against our acts of  parliament,” he said. he said that according to the act, the government  has the right to cull without having  identified the n strain of the h5 virus.  “it says that if we have positively  identified the h strain, we must start  culling, no matter what the n strain is.”  the department of agriculture has  assured South africans that there is no outbreak of h5n1 bird flu in thecountry despite the fact they had begun  culling birds in the area. agriculture  department spokesperson Steve galane  said his department is investigating how the importer of the waterbird eggs  managed to do so without the  required permit. –

Gwenda van Zyl