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The EC threatens the rearing of gamebirds

January 13th, 1996

New EC rules will ruin rearers of gamebirds.

(The Times, 13 January 1996, p1, The Sunday Telegraph, 14 January 1996, p28)

EC legislation requires that substances used in veterinary medicinal products for administration to food-producing animals be scientifically evaluated for their safety for the consumer. This evaluation is carried out by the Committee for Veterinary Medicinal Products, established by Directive 81/851/EEC.

Dimetridazole is a substance which was used in veterinary medicinal products for the treatment of certain parasitic diseases in poultry, including gamebirds, and pigs. The scientific evaluation of this substance identified it as potentially carcinogenic for the consumer of foodstuffs derived from treated animals. Consequently, as the protection of public health must prevail over any other considerations, the Commission proposed to ban the use of dimetridazole in food producing animals, and in accordance with the regulatory process adopted Regulation 95/1798/EC in July 1995 banning the use of dimetridazole.

Gamebirds are nowadays farmed for human consumption. A great number of animals are involved, with obvious public health implications.

Both for reasons of public health and animal welfare, emphasis should be given to sound animal husbandry; in this particular case, prevention of parasitic disease in poultry and gamebirds lies essentially in the improvement of hygiene and farming conditions. In regions outside the Union, industrial farming of poultry and gamebirds has maintained its activities despite a ban on the use of dimetridazole. In the United States it has been banned since 1987.


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