DEFRA have today issued their initial epidemiological report into
the avian influenza outbreak at Redgrave in North Suffolk.
It reports that the disease found at Redgrave is genetically 99.8%
identical to that found in a mute swan in the Czech Republic during
July of this year; these genetic results suggest that wild birds
may have introduced the virus into Suffolk from Europe. It also
points out that poultry processing, by-products, transport and
imports are all highly unlikely routes of infection in this case.
Control zones are still in place across Norfolk and Suffolk and
poultry farmers in these areas have housed their flocks and their
movements are under license.
Speaking today, Peter Bradnock, BPC Chief Executive said: “DEFRA
have recognized the speed with which this outbreak was notified
to Animal Health by Gressingham Foods and how useful that was in
efficient containment and eradication; the poultry sector also
recognizes the hard work put in by government officials and the
partnership approach we have further developed during this outbreak“.
“The report highlights two areas, foremost how we handle
the risk of infection to free range and organic poultry flocks“,
said Mr. Bradnock, “We will be sitting down with the government
and looking at further guidance on bio-security for outdoor flocks;
this will be essential as consumers and retailers show an increasing
preference for free range poultry meat“.
Mr. Bradnock concluded: “This was an incident involving small,
free range flocks in one distinct section of a poultry company.
They, and the wider poultry sector, will be looking at the lessons
here in terms of movements between farms and the location of free
range flocks. There may be planning implications which will have
to be over come in relation to the poultry sector’s ability
to relocate some farms”.
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