THE Queensland government has announced plans to open our borders and allow free entry for at least one class of illegal immigrant.
Pigeons have been banned from crossing the border from New South Wales since last year, when some turned out to be carrier pigeons in more ways than one.
The entry restrictions were introduced following the detection and spread of the disease avian paramyxovirus type 1 in pigeons in Victoria and New South Wales last year.
But apparently the filthy southern pigeons have not got the message and, in some cases, it seems they do not even know where the border is.
Far from being relieved that the disease is not here, government experts say the rules will be relaxed more because it is inevitable that it will spread nationally, "given its presence in both domestic and wild pigeons in these states".
Biosecurity Queensland principal veterinary officer Lawrence Gavey said the government was "working towards repealing current restrictions on bringing pigeons, pigeon eggs and fittings used with pigeons into Queensland".
He said the change was due to take effect before Christmas.
"The risks of the virus can be managed by vaccinating pigeons and taking recommended biosecurity measures," he said.
But the disease, known as APMV1, will remain a notifiable disease in Queensland, with cases required to be reported to the government on 13 25 23 in business hours and 1800 675 888 after hours.
Veterinary advice should also be sought, the government said.
The disease is said to be a form of Newcastle Disease, first discovered in Newcastle, England.
Dr Gavey said most Queensland pigeon keepers already vaccinated their birds, a process which could take several weeks and a second inoculation to be effective.
Anyone yet to vaccinate their flock should contact their vet as a priority.
- APMV1 is a contagious disease of domestic poultry, cage and aviary birds
- Human infection is extremely rare and symptoms mild