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News 250 views update:Nov 29, 2006

Cats and dogs to be culled to prevent AI spread

Quarantine officials in South Korea reportedly intend to begin culling cats and dogs, as well as pigs, in the areas affected by the recent avian influenza outbreak at a chicken farm.

All dogs, cats and pigs (as well as 236,000 poultry) in the 500-metre bird flu protection zone will be killed by Thursday, according to local reports.
Animal health experts have called the move an “extreme measure”, considering there is no scientific evidence that proves dogs or cats can pass the disease to humans.
"It's highly unusual, and it's not a science-based decision," said Peter Roeder, an animal health expert with the UN's Food and Agricultural Organisation. "We've got absolutely no reason to believe they're important," he said. Roeder published research about cats and bird flu earlier this year in the journal Nature.
Quarantine officials have already killed 125,000 chickens near the outbreak site, about 155 miles south of Seoul, the Agriculture Ministry said. About 6 million eggs also will be destroyed, it said. The ministry did not say how many dogs, cats and other animals would be killed.
Slaughtering cats and dogs near an area infected with bird flu would be highly unusual in Asia. Indonesia has killed pigs in the past, but most countries concentrate solely on destroying poultry.
An official at the Agriculture Ministry said South Korea slaughtered cats and dogs along with 5.3 million birds during the last outbreak of bird flu in 2003.

Editor WorldPoultry

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