Flock of 30,000 turkeys will be culled after bird flu outbreak

Flock of 30,000 turkeys will be culled after bird flu outbreak at Norfolk farm – sparking fears over Christmas supplies

  • 30,000 turkeys are being culled at a farm in East Anglia after bird flu outbreak
  • H5N8 strain of avian influenza was confirmed to have been found on Friday  
  • DEFRA did not identify the farm but published a map pinpointing its location

A flock of 30,000 Christmas turkeys are being culled at a farm in East Anglia after an outbreak of bird flu.

The outbreak is the latest in a string of cases of the highly pathogenic H5N8 strain of avian influenza to be reported in poultry flocks across the UK.

The new case was confirmed to have been found on Friday in turkeys being reared at a farm near Snetterton, Norfolk.

The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) did not identify the farm at the centre of the outbreak, but published a map pinpointing its location.

Security staff in high visibility jackets are guarding a private track at the spot leading to what appears to be polytunnel-style turkey shelters across a field.

Last month it was revealed that 10,500 turkeys were being culled after an outbreak at a fattening premises in Northallerton, North Yorkshire.

Defra announced on Friday that it was introducing tough new measures to combat the disease amid fears that it could hit the supply of Christmas turkeys.

The highly-pathogenic H5N8 strain of avian influenza was confirmed to have been found on Friday in turkeys being reared at a farm near Snetterton, Norfolk. The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) did not identify the farm at the centre of the outbreak, but published a map pinpointing its location

Security guards keep visitors away from what is believed to be the spot where turkeys are in the process of being culled near Snetterton, Norfolk, after a bird flu outbreak was confirmed by Defra

Under the measures, all poultry flocks including free range birds will have to be kept indoors in England, Scotland and Wales from December 14 to keep them separate from potentially infectious wild birds.

The strict new lockdown-style measures, which have already been introduced in the Netherlands, even apply to people with hens in coops or garden pens.

Poultry keepers are being urged to prepare for the new measures by erecting additional housing or self-contained netted areas.

A protection zone has been put in place around the Norfolk farm, imposing extra biosecurity measures and restricting the movement of poultry, eggs and meat within 3km.

Health officials have also imposed a wider surveillance zone with lesser restrictions stretching out to 10km from the farm

A Defra spokesperson confirmed that 30,000 turkeys on the Norfolk farm were in the process of being humanly culled as a precaution.

The spokesperson said: ‘ A veterinary investigation is on-going on this site to identify the likely source of infection and establish how long the disease may have been present on the infected premises.

‘The strain of HPAI H5N8 which has been confirmed in several poultry premises in England appears closely related to the virus currently circulating in wild and captive birds in Europe.’

The spokesperson added: ‘Bird keepers should remain alert for any signs of disease, report suspected disease immediately and ensure they are maintaining good biosecurity on their premises.’

Public Health England (PHE) advises that the risk to public health from bird flu is very low.

The Food Standards Agency advises that avian influenzas pose a very low food safety risk for UK consumers. Properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat.u 

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