Following a meeting this morning with Scotland’s agriculture
Minister Ross Finnie, NFU Scotland President John Kinnaird said:
“We had an extremely useful meeting. The industry continues
to take steps to minimise any chance that bird flu could enter
our farmed population. We must remember that we still only have
one isolated case in a dead wild swan. There is no guarantee whatsoever
that the disease will spread onto farms. Right across Europe, other
than in a couple of isolated incidences, the cases of H5N1 have
remained in the wild bird population.
“The poultry industry is on high alert. In fact, it has
been that way for months now as Scotland's farmers have watched
the disease creep closer to this country. That period of watching
and waiting has also provided time to put plans in place. These
are now being implemented on the ground, particularly for 250,000
free-range or organic birds that are being brought indoors in the
widened risk area.
“This morning I took some poultry farmers both from within
the 10 kilometre zone and the wild bird risk area to meet the Minister.
It is important that he heard first hand their thoughts on a fast-moving
situation and the effect of restrictions. In particular, their
view is that the current government approach is proportionate to
the risk and they have welcomed the fact that current preventative
measures are being based on strong scientific advice.
“Restrictions in the 10 kilometre zone can seriously hamper
businesses so it is important that we don’t jump to similar
nationwide control measures unless the veterinary experts deem
it necessary; a point the Minister was clearly conscious of.
“One of the keys to successfully tackling these kinds of
disease situations is strong and clear communication between government,
vets and industry – that was what this morning’s meetings,
and those taking place each day, are all about.”
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