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Feb 25, 2022

B.A.H.A. Says Regulations Designed to Protect Birds and Other Wildlife, Livestock

Gutierrez says if people follow the laws regarding wildlife importation, it would save the government and importers a whole lot of money because the procedures would be followed that would detect if diseases are present.


Francisco Gutierrez

Francisco Gutierrez, Acting Managing Director, B.A.H.A.

“This issue points precisely to what we’ve been concerned about, that our regulations and laws are not there to prohibit any agricultural initiative or anything of that sort. Our regulations are laws there to prevent disease from coming in and really affecting the commercial stock, as well as livestock – poultry in this case – that belong to families, backyard operations etcetera, because it’s a food security issue as well. Yes, these are some of the things that really concern us. Legally yes, if we detect anything, then we have protocols, eradication procedures, etcetera, even to quarantine full areas if that is the case.  Once something gets into the country, if there is a potentially damaging disease it can spread and what do you do? Even if you are able to prosecute somebody, it doesn’t solve the problem. The last Avian Influenza outbreak that we had in the western part of the country that entailed us quarantining the whole Spanish Lookout area cost the Government of Belize about six million dollars! And that does not include the direct cost to the producers, who lost quite a few millions of dollars as well. Again, we didn’t run a whole battery of tests to be able to conclude.”


Marion Ali

“Wouldn’t that be one of the first things you do, though, to see if there is an outbreak of anything?”


Francisco Gutierrez

“What happened is we didn’t have the background. If you send us a sample to do, we will do what you’re requesting, thinking that these are pets that she’s dealing with, but you’re right, there had to have been some follow-up because nothing came up, then we didn’t know what were the clinical symptoms. Our veterinarians were not invited to go see. I guess – it’ not a glitch in the law because there will be aspects of our laws that will give us that power, or in the very least, put the onus on practitioners out there to have to report these cases.”

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