28,000 birds to be culled in suspected avian flu outbreak

This is the third outbreak of avian flu in Northern Ireland in recent weeks.

Furvah Shah
Tuesday 21 December 2021 17:17
<p>The outbreak has been described as the ‘worst ever’. </p>

The outbreak has been described as the ‘worst ever’.

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Around 28,000 birds have been culled in Northern Ireland after a suspected case of avian flu.

The birds belonged to a commercial flock in the county of Londonderry, and this is the third suspected case of avian flu – also known as bird flu – in recent weeks.

Agricultural Minister, Edwin Poots, described this as the “work outbreak ever across the UK.”

Previous suspected cases of bird flu in Northern Ireland were among a poultry flock in Armagh and a duck flock in Tyrone. Both cases have since been confirmed as positive for HPAI H5N1, a strain of bird flu.

Mr Poots said: “There is no doubt that this is a very difficult time for the poultry industry as they try to prevent an outbreak in their own flock and I do not underestimate how stressful it is, to be so vigilant every hour, of every day.

“But I can assure you, suffering an outbreak and facing the cull of your flock is even more devastating and I urged the poultry industry to take further steps to assist farm families and business to take every precaution possible to protect their birds and their livelihoods.

“Right across Europe and the UK, we are seeing this strain of Avian Influenza wipe out small backyard keepers with one or two birds, to large commercial businesses with over 500,000 birds,” he added.

Farms in other areas of the UK, such as Lincolnshire and North Yorkshire, have also has outbreaks of this contagious strain of bird flu.

Mr Poots added: “It’s extremely disappointing that this is now the worst outbreak ever across the UK and yet another stark reminder of the importance of excellent biosecurity measures which ultimately, are the only protection we have in preventing Avian Influenza getting into our housed flocks. This is a particularly persistent strain

The Minister thanked the poultry sector for helping to minimise the outbreak, and urged farmers to be cautious and put measured in place to contain the spread.

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