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H5N1 Confirmed, Further Movement Restrictions Imposed
07/04/06

NFU Scotland has urged all parties to keep the current bird flu outbreak in proportion. NFUS has made the plea following the confirmation that the swan that died of avian flu in Fife had contracted the H5N1 strain and following the imposition of further restrictions along Scotland’s east coast.

swan

The Union recognises that veterinary advice requires that further movement restrictions are enforced. Whilst this is going to cause serious difficulties for the poultry industry with over three million poultry likely to be caught up in new restrictions, NFUS is stressing that this must be seen in the wider context of protecting Scotland’s £110 million annual poultry trade.

NFUS is reminding everyone that this remains a single case in a wild bird, with no guarantees that the disease will spread into the farmed poultry population.

NFUS Deputy Chief Executive James Withers said:

“This is a serious issue for Scotland’s poultry producers, but it remains an issue for the farming industry, not for the public or consumers.

“Farmers are relying on expert advice and if it says we need these restrictions, then that is what must be imposed. The price of being too lax with this disease is too high to contemplate.

“The key element of the decision-making process on further restrictions for the country’s poultry farms is veterinary advice. We have to trust the disease experts and hope that their advice provides the protection that our £110 million poultry industry so desperately needs. We will be discussion with them the next steps as the evening progresses.

“The wider restrictions will undoubtedly cause problems for farm businesses and we’ll be working with the Executive on an hourly basis to try and address these.

“However, whilst these new restrictions effectively shut down a significant proportion of the industry and look draconian, a sense of perspective remains important. We are still talking about one wild bird, in one isolated case. That is not designed to under-estimate the concern within the industry but to bring perspective to the current debate. The lessons from Europe are that the spread of disease from wild birds onto farms is rare, with only few isolated examples.

“Poultry farmers are not going to have an easy night or next few days. But whilst watching this disease creep closer to them has been excruciating, it has allowed them to plan accordingly. Crucially, the contingency work of the Scottish Executive and authorities must now to come to fruition.”

link Bird Flu Tests - Preliminary Positive on Dead Swan
link Bird flu outbreaks continue in Africa, Asia, Europe and Near East
link H5N1 Avian flu tests on dead wild bird in Scotland
link CLA Statement On Avian Influenza
link CIWF Calls on EU to Protect Animal Welfare in Face of Bird Flu Threat
link Bird flu virus advances in Nigeria
link Bird flu: concern grows over possible spread in West Africa

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