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The Federation of Livestock Farmers’ Associations of Malaysia (FLFAM) is deeply concerned with the outbreak of avian flu as announced by the Honorable Minister of Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Tan Sri Muhyiddin bin Yassin yesterday. The outbreak appears to be isolated in a small area far away from commercial farms. Further to this, chicken and eggs of the country continue to be safe for consumption.

As we have expressed our views before the outbreak is more than likely to be related to the illegal imports of pet birds or fighting cocks by irresponsible people.
The location of the current outbreak points more to this source of infection than to migrating birds. The outbreak puts at risk the ability of the commercial poultry sector to continue to supply wholesome and healthy protein food in the form of chicken meat and eggs to the citizens of this country.

The supply of chicken meat and eggs should be considered a food security issue in terms of price compared to other protein food sources.

The FLFAM is very happy that the Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) has been able to detect and confirm the disease very quickly. This will allow quick and effective action to be taken to control and eradicate the disease rapidly.

The fact that the Agriculture and Veterinary Authority (AVA) of Singapore has only suspended the export of poultry and eggs from the State of Selangor and allowed the exports to continue from the other free zones is a good reflection of their confidence in the ability of the DVS to be transparent and to able to contain the disease effectively.

As the President of the FLFAM I will continue to give its fullest co-operation with the Government by working with the DVS to ensure that the outbreak is controlled and enable the country to recover it freedom from avian flu status.

We hope the government will continue and intensify its anti-smuggling of poultry and poultry product operations so that further incursions of the disease are prevented. We would like to suggest that the penalties on those caught smuggling poultry and eggs be increased to include prison sentences to act as a deterrent. We would like to know what has happened to the smuggling cases that were caught before. I would like to call on the government through the DVS to continue working on the strategies towads dealing with the situation as the disease appear to be spreading even more widely in other countries and and affecting global supplies of poultry and eggs.

In the meantime we would like to assure the public that as stated by the Honorable Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin the poultry meat and eggs produced commercially are safe for human consumption.

Thank you.

Datuk Francis Lau Tuang Nguang
President, FLFAM
22nd February 2006
Kuala Lumpur