The National Office of Hunting, Conservation and Development (ONC) has asked the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, Fisheries and the Environment (MPAMA) the implementation of measures that prevent the arrival to Spain of a dangerous virus that affects rabbits and, according to reports, has been released intentionally in Australia.
It is the new strain K5 of the well-known virus of rabbit haemorrhagic disease (the so-called RHDV1 K5), and to the critical situation that lives this species in many areas of Spain, the ONC believes it is imperative that you do everything necessary to ensure that this strain does not come to our country.
Keep in mind that this virus, which only affects rabbits, has a survival of several months, according to the experts, could be imported accidentally from Australia if you do not take the necessary steps to prevent it. In addition, we cannot forget that it has a mortality rate of around 90% in the population of rabbits, so that their arrival to Spain could affect in a decisive way to a species already decimated and also the viability of other species in danger of extinction such as the imperial eagle and the lynx.
In addition, the ONC has asked both the MAPAMA as the Government of Australia to provide information on the existence of this project, as well as its possible consequences for third countries and about the measures taken so far to prevent the virus from reaching to other areas.
The deputy director of Sanitation and Animal Hygiene and Traceability of the MAPAMA, Beatriz Muñoz, has responded to these requirements and has indicated that it shares the concern for the project’s australian and that some measures have been taken in this regard. Thus, any import of rabbits from Australia to the european territory will pass a border control in the first place the EU customs, and each departure must be accompanied by a certificate of veterinary inspection which will provide the sanitary guarantees necessary to address this disease. On the other hand, the responsible of Animal Health of the MAPAMA points out that the protection of the rabbit is “one of the objectives” of his department, for which we are implementing various measures.