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At last…..our birds are vaccinated against Avian Influenza
by Andrea Heesters
Our 23 geese and 4 chickens are vaccinated….at last.
Well it could have been done sooner but we wanted the goslings to be vaccinated as well. As we had permission from the EU to vaccinated until the first of July we could wait untill our goslings were old enough. They had to be 7 weeks of age before they were allowed to be vaccinated. Friday June 9th Sible Westendorp, the veterinarian and chairman of the NWPP (Dutch workforce for poultry and waterfowl) came over. It would save us double costs if we would vaccinate them all at the same time so therefore we waited until June. Early this year we had decided not to breed this year but a family who had ordered two geese last year were very disappointed they had to wait another year. As things where so insecure, due to the AI treat, we thought it would be better not to breed this year. Then we got another phone call from people who wanted two geese, and vaccinated birds, so we decided to breed just a few goslings. We also told those people who had ordered last year that we would breed with our geese but that we would vaccinate the goslings also. That meant that they had to be registrated by our minstry of agriculture too if they still wanted geese from us. They agreed.
I’ve been waiting and fighting for three years for this moment, since the outbreak of Avian Influenza H7N7 back in 2003, but that Friday morning I was very nervous. Had I made the right decision?, How would the birds react on the vaccin?, Could I get the vet that far that he wouldn’t put on those awfull metal leg bands? And more of that.
It almost gave me a stomach ache….
Unfortuantely for me Sible didn’t dare not to put on the metal leg bands…He couldn’t make it he said. He didn’t like them either but we had no choice at this moment he told me.
really was glad we hadn’t done that with the geese…
After Sible had finished the vaccination he had to fill in the forms. That took most of the time and as he said: “It’s unbelievable that we have to do this like this in this century of modern technologies. It had to be done with a pencil… Not just print the forms. As it is a pilot project it takes time I suppose. Same as those awful leg bands. Poor birds. Now they have on each leg a leg band and the metal one is quite heavy. They already had a plastic leg band with an unique number on it….
Really, we are very curious how they will do that next year. Suppose we have the opportunity to vaccinate again next year than they need another leg band with 2007 on it. These metal leg bands are very difficult to remove, better say they can’t be removed or you have to be with three people. One to pick up the bird, another one to keep the leg still and the third one who has to remove the leg band with special equipment. I can’t imagine our government wants to build up the complete leg with leg bands. I really do believe the people who work at our ministry of agriculture have never seen a geese or chicken alive otherwise they wouldn’t have agreed on such awfull leg bands. I also wonder if they have ever seen such a leg band at our ministry… Maybe some vet of the Animal Health Commission has come up with them. Oh…they are just birds they must have thought. Animal welfare is very far away…. If they really had no other choice with those metal leg bands they should have given them also an unique number so they wouldn’t have to be replaced if we would get permission from the EU to continue the vaccination program. Or… better had listen to the NWPP who had different suggestions for identification. If you know that the EU never has said they have to have those leg bands and that it was a decision of our own ministry you do wonder…
reason they need to be identified is only for our AID (Animal Health Inspection)
so that those inspectors can see from a distance which birds are vaccinated
or not during a period of confining. Vaccinated birds no longer have to
be confined. Suppose our birds are in their pools when they come over
and we’re not at home. No one can see if they wear a metal leg band…
Well I do hope all of the world will get the opportunity to protect their birds against Avian Influenza H5N1 like us and France, as we don’t get rid of it for the next 50 years experts say. Right now, a day later I’m very glad we have vaccinated our birds. Nor only to protect them against this nasty virus but also that we don’t have to confine them again next autumn (and maybe all winter). I really think it’s the keeper his/her own responsibility to vaccinate or not and that we should have the choice. Not needing permission from our governments!
Our geese are fine, not a single vaccination reactions
and doing as usual. They only thing that is different is if they hit something
with their metal leg band it goes like….cling cling….
June 30th they will get their second injection so they
will be protected for a year against H5N1. Then between nine weeks after
the second vaccination and a year some more blood samples have to be taken.
They want to have a lot of these test results so our ministry, and probably
also the EU, has the chance to get more information about vaccinating
birds against Avian Influenza…. We are a pilot program, same as
France, but if it will help to get all the birds and humans protected
against H5N1 I don’t mind.