Flu fear parrots dumped

Thursday, February 23 2006 @ 09:41 AM UTC

Contributed by: roelantjonker


PET lovers have dumped parrots worth up to £3,000 each because of bird flu fears, it emerged last night.

A sanctuary was given 23 of the unwanted birds in a week — FIVE times the usual number.

The pets, including lovebirds, budgies, a blue and gold macaw, two African greys and an Amazon parrot are worth £20,000.

One cockatoo was left outside with a message reading: “Please look after Barney. We have a little child and don’t want to get bird flu.”

More than 750 birds are cared for at the National Parrot Sanctuary in Friskney, Lincs.

Keeper Neil Jacklin, 39, fears the number of dumped birds could double in weeks to come.

He said: “People are worried about the threat of the disease. It’s all very sad.

"They are dropping off cages and driving off before we can even speak to them.”

The threat of the H5N1 strain of the disease hitting Britain increased last week after it reached France.

Worried UK farmers have accused the Government of “dereliction of duty” for not vaccinating poultry.

And the Soil Association called for “urgent action”.

It wants infected flocks culled, coupled with vaccination of birds in surrounding areas.

Environment Secretary Margaret Beckett fears the jabs — costing 10p per bird — would only mask the disease.

But European Union veterinary experts yesterday agreed France and the Netherlands COULD start vaccinating millions of birds — despite protests from other countries about its effectiveness.