vietnam to eliminate ho chi minh birds

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    Martin W
      Vietnam's commercial hub Ho Chi Minh City has begun poisoning pigeons and other wild birds as it moves to prevent avian flu from spreading into the crowded city, an official said on Friday. ' ,,, "We will make sure that no birds are left in the city to minimise the risk of bird flu," Huynh Huu Loi, Director of Ho Chi Minh City's Animal Health Department, told Reuters.

      Vietnam poisons pigeons to prevent bird flu

      How much blame can we attribute to those experts (and "experts") who have blithely said wild birds are spreading H5N1 with nary a shred of evidence? [yes, looks like v minor spread – Mongolia; but nothing to suggest the Ho Chi Minh birds are a problem Nothing!!]


        This is the sort of extreme and unwarranted action I have been dreading. What will be next target for annihilation? I cannot believe that the Ho Chi Minh City Authorities are acting in this way. If all the wild birds in the city were all keeling over and dying and it was proven that they were carrying H5N1 then maybe I could understand that some form of control would be necessary. However, there is no evidence that the wild birds in the city are infected (it’s a situation of lets kill them all just in case!).

        The virus is far more likely to be spread by human activity such as the indiscriminate dumping of chicken waste into fish ponds (see attached article – I also believe this activity may be responsible for the recent deaths of cormorants in Gao Giong – Mekong Delta ), wet markets, movement of infected domestic birds, products, crates etc, cock fighting, farm workers shoes, equipment etc.

        This sort of action is totally unjustified!

        Post edited by: jodd, at: 2005/11/27 21:42

        Post edited by: jodd, at: 2005/11/28 06:26

        Post edited by: jodd, at: 2005/12/02 06:47

        Martin W

          FAO just put out press release, saying killing wild birds not good
          Unimpressive I think; just emailed their news room:

          Here’s an email I’ve circulated to some people who may be interested.

          “Following report of Ho Chi Minh’s wild bird slaughter, FAO now warning against killing wild birds in attempt to guard against H5N1.

          FAO surely in part responsible – thanks to chief vet Joseph Domenech widely reported on wild birds supposedly spreading H5N1, and never mind the lack of solid evidence (and people like Les Sims, a vet with extensive field experience of H5N1, inc for FAO, saying wild birds are by no means main culprit for spread). Hope Domenech is proud of his role in the witch-hunt vs wild birds.”

          – while perhaps Juan Lubroth can enlighten me as to just which waterfowl have been identified as “carriers” of H5N1. (I trust he wasn’t being sloppy, and just meaning main carriers of regular, wild bird flus?!)

          The answer, dear Juan and FAO news people: no wild birds identified as carriers of H5N1. Being dead or very sick doesn’t enable you to carry the virus. (Further, the drastic measures being taken in Ho Chi Minh are not just “unlikely” to help with H5N1 – they won’t do anything at all to help. But, some pest species may benefit, as in China during Mao’s war on sparrows.)

          Martin W

            Nial Moores of Birds Korea has also emailed FAO newsroom:

            Dear Sir/Madam,

            An amazing news release from the FAO, to be found at:

            It includes the long quotation:
            Juan Lubroth, FAO senior officer responsible for infectious animal diseases, commented (killing of wild birds in cities in order to control H5N1 outbreaks) “is unlikely to make any significant contribution to the protection of humans against avian influenza.¡±

            He added: ¡°There are other, much more important measures to be considered that deserve priority attention. Fighting the disease in poultry must remain the main focus of attention.¡±

            ¡°Wild bird species found in and around cities are different from the wetland waterfowl that have been identified as carriers of the avian influenza virus,¡±

            Here we see the FAO on the one hand apparently trying to accept that alarmist proclamations about spread of HPAI H5N1 by wild birds are somehow overstated, while at the same time trying to defend their spurious position that it is spread by wild birds after all!

            As a significant and respected organisation, it is surely important for the FAO to be at least as as rigid and clear with their use of language and facts as others (like NGOs – who unsupported by massive funding and publicity machines, have worked tirelessly over the past months/years to ask the relevant questions to largely uninterested media).

            Clearly, sometimes “the wild bird species found in and around cities” in the region are the same as “wetland waterfowl”. Many cities have breeding colonies of Little Egret or Grey Heron, others of Great Cormorant, still others large numbers of wintering waterbirds.

            The point is not that they are different species, but that up to now there is still no unambiguous evidence that infected wild birds carry highly pathogenic H5N1 long distances; there is no unambiguous evidence that wild birds have infected poultry with the virus (though there is plentiful strong evidence of secondary infection of scavenging wild bird species by infected poultry); there is not a single known case of wild birds infecting people.

            It is extraordinarily irresponsible to speak only half-truths, so that the agency can keep having their cake while eating it.

            Let us please hear from now much more from the FAO on how there have been no outbreaks of Highly Pathogenic H5N1 in migratory bird populations in East Asia after the self-limiting outbreaks in Mongolia in the summer; how patterns of outbreaks still have not and do not match patterns of wild bird migrations; how even in Europe, spread by wild birds remains but a poorly supported hypothesis, greatly weakened by evidence of spread by captive birds (for example into the UK and into Kuwait). Let us hear much more about investigations into cultural and agricultural practices, from merit release, through cock-fighting, through use of chicken manure as fertiliser in fish ponds.

            Surely, these are the kinds of causes of spread that fall within the emit of FAO’s expertise; that the FAO has responsible for informing the public about.


            Nial Moores
            Director, Birds Korea

            Nial Moores
            Birds Korea: The national and international network dedicated to the conservation
            of birds and their habitats.


            Martin W

              just sent another email to FAO newsroom; self-explanatory I think:

              On seeing your 31 August 2005 news release, Wild birds expected to spread bird flu virus further, I emailed you as seemed suspect to me.

              No reply from you.

              News release led with:
              “The deadly strain of avian influenza that has hit several countries in Asia is likely to be carried over long distances along the flyways of wild water birds to the Middle East, Europe, South Asia and Africa, FAO warned today. “

              Now the autumn migration is over, can we expect a news release saying “Wild birds have not spread bird flu virus further – haven’t even spread it within Asia – this autumn” [maybe to Romania and s Russia, but even there, weird and questionable]
              And if not, why not? Surely FAO isn’t fixated on playing role in witch-hunt against wild birds?

              Post edited by: martin, at: 2005/11/30 01:57


              Another article relating to the above:

              Wild bird culls unlikely to help bird flu fight-UN

              Tue Nov 29, 2005 6:05 PM GMT

              ROME (Reuters) – The United Nations urged countries against culling wild birds in their fight to halt bird flu, saying the main concern must be tackling the disease in poultry.




              Post edited by: jodd, at: 2005/11/30 21:44

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