European Union veterinary experts on Tuesday endorsed an EU-wide ban on the import of exotic birds and stricter rules on the movement of private pet birds to help counter the threat of bird flu.
The move was taken after a parrot, imported from Suriname, died in quarantine in Britain over the weekend after contracting the H5N1 flu strain. It was believed the parrot was infected by other birds in quarantine.
The EU commission still needs to adopt the measure over the next few days for it to be put in practice.
"The ban covers captive live birds other than poultry imported for commercial purposes," said the EU Commission in a statement. It was the lastest step by the 25-nation EU in its attempts to keep the disease at bay.
EU spokesman Phillip Tod said imports of wild birds into the EU for resale to pet stores and other outlets totaled 232,000 over the last three months.