Thai chickens, Russian fighter jets, and H5N1

Just been sent links to an item from Russia; 18 July 2005, but maybe of interest:

' Russian Poultry Union has served an official letter to Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov in a move to prevent stepping up quotas for poultry import. Extra quotas are needed to ship poultry from Thailand in settlement for fighters’ deliveries from Russia. The poultry makers are on alert, signalling this barter will not only ruin the market, but also result in the bird flu epidemic in Russia. Set up in May of 2001 to lobby interests of poultry makers in the government’s bodies, Russian Poultry Union has 219 members today. National consumption of poultry slightly exceeds 2 million tons with imported poultry covering exactly a half of it. ... But the prices are not the sole concern now. “50,000 tons are the annual capacity of five good poultry plants, and if it were only for them! The epidemic of bird flu that could be brought to the country with frozen poultry from Thailand may threaten existence of the whole industry. In exchange for defense orders, the Cabinet appears to be ready to sacrifice the national poultry industry in whole,” specified Nikolay Khaustov, general director at Tsentrptitseprom. ' Seeking">http://www.kommersant.com/page.asp?id=591576]Seeking Protection against Thai Poultry

Aha, the plot thickens yet again.

Several questions occur to me, inc: Most obviously: Might the Thai poultry have carried H5N1 to Russia? Thailand maybe "free" of virus at the time, tho I've memories that a human case preceded H5N1 discovery in chickens in one place; also, might there have been vaccinated chickens with "silent" infections in Thailand - where poultry vaccines banned I believe, but at least in early 2004 poultry vaccines smuggled in from China: http://english.people.com.cn/200402/26/eng20040226_135948.shtml">http://english.people.com.cn/200402/26/eng20040226_135948.shtml]http://e... . Then, what of genetic analysis; I haven't seen much re this, and can't remember right now; but some memory that Russian samples more related to H5N1 in China.

Then, with half Russia's poultry imported: where do other imports come from? How much, say, comes north from China? Does such strong demand - with relatively high prices for chicken in Russia - encourage smuggling?

And, of course, why little or no focus on this - that I've noticed - by FAO?

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