Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Wednesday 26 April 2017

IFA calls on Bord Bia to suspend poultry farm visits

"Organic and free range birds are most at risk but that doesn't mean commercial flocks couldn't get it, it's a virus so it's airborne."
Claire Mc Cormack

Claire Mc Cormack

Bord Bia should suspend all visits to poultry farms as concerns over the spread of a bird flu strain rise nationwide, the IFA has warned.

"I would be calling on Bord Bia not to visit farms when this virus is out there. Visits and audits should be suspended. That's a proactive step that could be taken at a simple level," said Nigel Renaghan, chairman of the IFA's Poultry Committee.

"I called for birds to be kept in their sheds a month ago but it fell on deaf ears with the Department. I'd imagine that other cases will come out in Ireland. If there is one, there is more."

Although farmers are on high alert with security measures in place, Mr Renaghan is calling for all poultry farm visits to be suspended immediately.

Airborne

"Organic and free range birds are most at risk but that doesn't mean commercial flocks couldn't get it, it's a virus so it's airborne," he said.

"For poultry farmers this is the same as Foot and Mouth coming into the country."

Last week, the Department of Agriculture confirmed that tests on a wild duck from Co Wexford found the presence of avian influenza subtype H5N8.

The bird, a widgeon, was discovered alive but unable to fly on December 28, in Wexford town. Although no human infection has ever been recorded by H5N8, it presents a serious concern for farmers.

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre said it can cause serious disease in poultry and other birds. The detection was not unexpected, as there had been infections of a "highly pathogenic" variant detected in Britain in recent weeks.

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