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EU bird import ban set to be approved

Ministers are today expected to approve a blanket ban on the importing of live birds into the European Union as it was revealed that the man at the centre of Britain's first bird flu case is a convicted fraudster.
The restriction on the trade has been demanded by Britain after the death in quarantine of a parrot imported from Surinam by Pegasus Birds, based in Brentwood, Essex.

It is thought that the Surinam parrot contracted the potentially-lethal H5N1 form of the virus when it was kept with a bird imported from Taiwan.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs confirmed inquiries are continuing to establish if all birds stored at the quarantine had been tested for avian flu prior to arrival in the UK.

Brett Hammond, director of Pegasus Birds and licensed to run the quarantine, has refused to answer questions about the case at his premises in West Horndon, Essex.

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