EU restricts bird markets, imports of live birds from Russia

The European Union has ordered restrictions on bird markets and shows and urged nations to present a program of vaccination for zoo birds as part of increased measures to head off the spread of bird flu. Veterinary experts said there should be an immediate EU-wide ban on the collection of birds for markets, shows, exhibitions and cultural events, except where national authorities gave specific permission, the EU said in a statement released late Thursday.

The EU scientists also said national governments should consider vaccinating birds kept in zoos. They said trade in vaccinated birds would be prohibited except under specific authorization.

The statement also clarified wider measures taken to restrict imports of live birds and feathers from Russia, following the spread of bird flu there. It said the ban would cover all of Russia except for the northwest regions of Kaliningrad, Leningrad, Karelia and Murmansk, and the city of St. Petersburg, the AP reports.

The experts said there was no need to ban eggs or poultry from Russia because there is no trade in those products to the EU.