Avian Flu, Agro-Terrorism, and Falconry

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Another Peregrine Falcon
Infected with H5N1 Avian Flu

ANOTHER peregrine falcon has recently been discovered with Avian Flu, in Hong Kong on March 21, 2006.  This is the third peregrine found in Hong Kong, infected with the virus that threatens millions of human lives.

At least one of the three infected falcons found in Hong Kong, was a black market bird, destined for the Arabian Gulf (read the articles, below).  Was this latest falcon held captive, also among a larger collection of contraband birds, that was thrown away when it exhibited signs of ill-health?

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Falconers Smuggled Eagles
Infected With Virulent H5N1 Avian Influenza

On October 18, 2004 two Crested Hawk Eagles were smuggled into Europe from Thailand by the owner of a commercial raptor breeding farm. Both birds were infected with virulent H5N1 avian flu, and were sacrificed by authorities.

As a precautionary measure, 652 other captive birds were also destroyed in quarantine centers where the smuggled eagles passed through.

This report also makes reference to falcons infected with avian flu in the United Arab Emirates and Hong Kong. Consequently there is mention of falconry, in association with avian influenza.

U.C.R. maintains that Arab falconry is particularly high-risk for the spread of avian influenza, because of today's thriving black market that moves thousands of wild falcons and houbara bustards, without veterinary inspections, CITES licenses, or border controls.  Additionally, tens of thousands of live quail (used to feed trained hunting falcons) are flown from the Arabian Gulf, into the royal falconry camps across Central Asia ... without any veterinary inspections.

Avian Influenza and Agro-Terrorism
"...another face of bio-terrorism."

2004 06 30   ProMed Mail - Mutation of Avian Influenza, whereby people are increasingly at risk.

2004 01 12   Georgia Public Health reports how Saudi Arabia's export of Avian Influenza may be considered as “Agro-Terrorism”.

2004 01 04   ProMed Mail reports that during July, 1998 Saudi Arabia smuggled Avian Influenza into the United States.

This article demonstrates how far Saudi Arabia will go to hide the truth, violate international laws, and endanger the lives of Americans. Avian Influenza is responsible for the death of over 30 people in Asia, and 100 million domestic chickens. Avian flu threatens the lives of people, and the mega-billion dollar poultry industry.

The Saudis paid to Maine Biological Laboratories, bribery totaling U.S. $895,704, in order to secretly develop a vaccine for a virulent Avian Influenza outbreak in Saudi Arabia. Maine Biological Laboratory executives pled guilty to criminal offenses, and in 2005 they were convicted on multiple counts, by Judge John Woodcock in Bangor, Maine.

However the Saudi perpetrators have not been tried in court, for criminal offenses linked to smuggling virulent Avian Influenza into the U.S.A.  Saudi Arabia also failed to obey international treaties that mandate the reporting of pandemic disease outbreaks. Furthermore, Saudi Arabia went to great length and expense, to avoid accountability and to cover up their own outbreak of Avian Influenza. 

Therefor, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has a documented record as a 'rogue State' whose covert mismanagement of disease pandemics includes smuggling virulent contagions into the U.S.A., lack of transparency, and lack of accountability.  Had this occurred after 911, the Saudi Arabian smugglers would have been, very likely, indicted on terrorism charges.

Avian Diseases Amplified by Middle East Falconry, while
Saudi Arabia Smuggles Virulent Avian Influenza Into U.S.A.

2003 09 03   A wild Peregrine Falcon was discovered in Hong Kong with virulent H5N1 Avian Influenza.  The falcon was captured for the Middle East black market and held in captivity. But when the smugglers learned the bird was diseased, they abandoned the female Peregrine falcon in a Hong Kong park.

Every year, thousands of contraband falcons are smuggled out of China, Mongolia, and Russia to the Middle East - all without veterinary inspections or border controls.

Today's black market serves as a dangerous vector for Avian Influenza. Hot-spots for Avian Flu, are linked to the same 'rat-lines' that Middle East smugglers use to move thousands of contraband falcons and houbara bustards.  Shared venues for Avian Flu and falcon smuggling include Outer Mongolia and NovoSibirsk, Russia.

2004 01 01   This press release indicates dangerous trends in the epidemiology of Avian Influenza for captive-bred farm falcons, namely:

  • The disease is generally stable and non-lethal to wild fowl and most wild birds.
  • However it is virulent and subject to rapid mutations in ‘new’ Avian host species.
  • Captive-bred Hybrid falcons may be considered as “new Avian host species”. Hybrid falcons are ‘genetically modified organisms’ (GMO), created by man within the past 30 years.
  • Therefor, Hybrid falcons might be inordinately susceptible to Avian Influenza.
  • Hybrid falcons may potentially host and foster mutative strains of Avian Influenza, and Hyrbrid falcons may be ultimately responsible for especially virulent disease outbreaks of Avian Influenza. Independent study is needed.
Also: Domestic quail are the preferred food for captive falcons used in research, breeding, and sport falconry.
  • Middle East markets are full of live quail. Significant numbers of quail are very commonly afflicted with Newcastle disease.  Middle East markets are also optimal for transmission of Avian Influenza.
  • Quail are shipped alive from the Arabian Gulf by the thousands -- to foreign luxury hunts in Pakistan, Morocco, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and Russia.
  • There are no health inspections or border controls for exported Quail.
  • Domestic quail can become mixing vessels for multiple avian influenza subtypes simultaneously.
  • These risks should be averted by closing down Middle East falconry which depends upon wild smuggled falcons, captive-bred falcons, smuggled houbara bustards, and quail -- all of which are transported together on the same courier jets, without veterinary or border controls.

2004 01 21   ProMed Mail--Avian Influenza press release: 

2004 01 27   ProMed Mail--Avian Influenza press release: 

2004 02 04   C.D.C. Embargo On Asian Birds Following Avian Influenza Outbreaks:

2004 02 04  C.D.C. Embargo on Asian Birds – Question and Answer:

2004 03 02   ProMed Mail Unprecedented Spread of Avian Influenza: 100 million birds dead from Influenza.

2004 03 10   C.D.C. Embargo on Asian Birds Lifted: Trade Resumes

2004 03 12   C.D.C. Embargo on Asian Birds – Dead Peregrine: Question and Answer

2004 05 04   A.F.P. Newcastle Disease in eastern Russia, where falcon smuggling abounds