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Bird flu raises debate in EU for compensation for farmers

In a considerate bid by EU they have suggested that EU member states could help national poultry amid a consumer bird flu scare due to lowering prices.//

Stressing the point agriculture commissioner Mariann Fisher Boel said , "There are different ways for member states to help poultry producers,"

Italy and Greece repeated demands that the commission help support businesses in countries where farmers have been severely affected by falling poultry prices.

Poultry sales have dropped by 70 percent in Italy, 40 to 50 percent in Greece and 15 percent in France.

Current EU law provides for compensation for farmers who are forced to slaughter poultry in the event of an animal disease outbreak, but does not cover loss of income due to poor sales.

Meanwhile, an initiative for immediate "preventive vaccination" against bird flu seems to have divided member states trying to find out how to tackle the virus' spread. The controversial vaccination proposal was met with scepticism from other EU member states, as it risks costing farmers their export markets.

Some EU member states also fear the "logistical problems" of delivering the vaccine to large numbers of birds and the "ongoing cost" of overseeing vaccinated flocks, with vaccines needing to be reintroduced every six months. But this is a good step in order to provide support and back farmers who are devastated by the Bird flu.

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