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Home >> Life
UPDATED: 20:44, April 18, 2007
Kuwaiti gov't denies illegal falcon trade as cause of bird flu outbreak
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Kuwaiti authorities has denied an allegation that illegal falcon trade may have caused an outbreak of bird flu that has plagued the emirate, local daily Kuwait Times reported Wednesday.

During a Tuesday parliamentary session, a number of Kuwaiti lawmakers submitted documents claiming that several falcon shipments for "influential people" had been imported recently without proper testing.

However, Jassem al-Bader, head of Public Authority for Agricultural Affairs and Fish Resources, refuted the allegation, saying that all the imported falcons had received strict test and were found healthy, said the Times.

But he then admitted that there used to be a ban on bird imports, which was eased since July 2006.

"Lifting the ban on falcons was a catastrophe. Why were they exempted from the ban despite warnings by doctors?" lawmaker Jamaan al-Harbash was quoted as saying.

According to the daily, lawmakers have decided to ask the parliament's health committee to study the situation and report back, said the report.

Kuwait reported 20 birds, including 18 falcons, were tested positive for the deadly H5N1 strain of the bird flu on Feb. 25 and so far the bird flu cases have reached to 132.

In November 2005, Kuwait detected the first case of a bird infected with the H5N1 strain -- a flamingo at a seaside villa.

According to the World Health Organisation, the H5N1 strain, the most aggressive form of the disease, has killed about 170 people worldwide and has seen millions of birds culled.

Source: Xinhua

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