New Case of Bird Flu
Bird flu has been confirmed at a turkey farm in Lincolnshire and strenuous efforts are being made to confine the outbreak. The government has been able to confirm that a number of birds at the poultry farm near Tetney have tested positive for the H5N8 strain of the disease which has been afflicting birds across Europe.
The turkeys at the Tetney farm were housed and so were not roaming free. There were 5,000 birds at the farm, most of which have already died from the disease. The rest of the birds will now all be culled. A protection zone will be established around the farm.
What Defra Says
An update on the Defra website said: "We are taking immediate and robust action and an investigation is under way to understand the origin of the disease and confirm that there are no further cases."
Christmas Turkeys and the Risk to Humans
Public Health England has emphasized that avian flu does not pose a risk to human health. There have been no cases anywhere in the world of the H5N8 strain being transmitted to humans. It is not thought that supplies of Christmas turkeys will be impacted by the loss of turkeys at this farm.
The Government’s Chief Veterinary Officer Nigel Gibbons recently announced a 30-day quarantine period during which owners of birds would be asked to move birds inside or to take the appropriate bio security measures to ensure that livestock and pets did not come into contact with wild birds.
Floating the Quarantine
However, the government’s hotlines have received hundreds of calls from people who have witnessed farmers and other keepers flouting the quarantine period. Many of the callers are being advised that these cases will not be investigated as Trading Standards lacks the resources to follow up on the tip-offs. How ridiculous!
In theory, breaking the quarantine could lead to a penalty of up to £5,000 or three months in prison. But the rules are impossible to enforce when there is no budget for the work! Some of the complaints have been made with regard to pet chicken keepers. Farmers are feeling bitter that an outbreak of bird flu could be caused by someone with a few chickens in their garden simply not doing as they have been told. This sounds a little like sour grapes and there is no evidence to suggest that private keepers of poultry are putting poultry farms at risk.