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