Irish Farmers put on alert as bird flu hits UK poultry
Irish poultry farmers have been put on high alert for avian flu after migratory birds were blamed for an outbreak in the UK.
The Irish Farmers Association (IFA) warned that its primary concern was not the threat from the UK outbreak, but the potential introduction of the virus to Irish flocks by wild birds.
More than one million turkeys will be brought to market across Ireland this Christmas - and an outbreak of bird flu at the current time could prove devastating for poultry farmers.
A farm in Louth, Lincolnshire is now under strict quarantine controls as UK agriculture officials attempt to prevent a spread of the H5N8 strain of the bird flu virus.
While lethal to poultry, the virus does not pose any known human health risks.
The turkeys involved are free range and could have had contact in open yards with wild or migratory birds.
More than 5,000 birds are involved. The flock will be slaughtered and a special 3km control zone has been established around the area in Lincolnshire. Birds slaughtered due to quarantine control issues cannot be sold for consumption.
It is the latest in a series of bird flu outbreaks across flocks in northern Europe over the past three months. All the outbreaks have been linked to migratory birds.