Help our farmers hit by bird flu says MP

WYRE and Preston North MP Ben Wallace has called for help for local farmers and businesses hit by livestock movement and other health restrictions following the recent outbreak of bird flu in the county.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 20th July 2015, 5:16 pm
Photo Neil Cross: Security
 alert following the bird flu outbreak in Goosnargh
Photo Neil Cross: Security alert following the bird flu outbreak in Goosnargh

During a fact finding visit to the Animal and Plant Health Agency in Barton he met Operations Director Hazel Durant and members of the team dealing with the case at Staveley’s Eggs, Field Foot Farm, Goosnargh, which was confirmed eight days ago.

He said staff were “working round the clock” to contain the flu, identified as strain H7N7. He said: “I met vets and civil servants from all over the UK who have come to help. It is very important at this stage that all government agencies, farmers and agricultural associations work together to limit the impacts of avian flu.”

He added: ”I have pressed for further help for our farmers. Movement restrictions and licensing regimes make it very difficult for them to survive as businesses. I was pleased to see that all involved have a real sense of urgency to get this outbreak cleaned up.”

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Meanwhile answers are still being sought to the question - what caused the outbreak and how long had it been present?

Culling of up to 170,000 birds was completed last Tuesday (July 14). DEFRA, (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), reported that preliminary cleansing and disinfection of Field Foot Farm farm was completed last Friday. The clock then started ticking on when restrictions imposed in the 3Km Observation and 10Km Surveillance Zones thrown round the farm can be lifted.

It is hoped all restrictions can be lifted on August 16.

Meanwhile bird keepers should report suspected disease to their nearest APHA office immediately and anyone finding five or more wild birds dead in the same location should contact the DEFRA helpline on 0345 933 5577.