100,000 birds culled after farm avian flu outbreaks




  • In Science
  • 2022-11-16 18:46:23Z
  • By BBC
chicken
chicken  

More than 100,000 birds have been culled at three Scottish farms amid the UK's worst avian flu outbreak.

Ayrshire farmer Billy Robb told BBC Radio Scotland's Drivetime programme he lost 32,000 hens last week.

And the National Farmers Union revealed 72,000 birds had been "taken out" at two farms in Aberdeenshire in the last 10 days - taking the total to 104,000.

Last month just four avian flu cases were recorded in Scotland, compared to 80 in England.

It comes as 12 swans were believed to have died from bird flu, after being found in a Glasgow park on Tuesday.

It is one of three non-commercial cases the NFU is aware of in Scotland.

Since 7 November all poultry and captive birds in England must be kept indoors, but Scotland's chief vet said these strict rules would not be replicated north of the border.

Mr Robb described the situation in Scotland as "crazy".

He added: "Our birds might have survived if they had been shut in a week or so before."

Mr Robb told BBC Scotland he suspected his hens were infected by migrating Canadian geese which stopped at a marsh on his farm.

He added: "This is definitely the worst the poultry industry has seen."

"I have been doing this job for 30 years and my father-in-law farmed for 40 years before that."

Eggs - stock shot
Eggs - stock shot  

Mr Robb said farmers were not able to put prices up and had to rely on what retailers were prepared to pay, despite challenges posed by soaring feed and energy costs.

As a result, he warned: "There is going to be a shortage of eggs for the whole of next year."

Some shops including Asda and Lidl have started to ration the number of boxes of eggs customers can buy due to supply issues.

Asda said customers would be limited to buying two boxes of eggs until further notice, while Lidl is limiting customers to three.

The latest outbreak of avian flu is the largest seen in the UK to date, and has affected the wild bird population as well as commercial and backyard flocks.

The Scottish government said the disease was also affecting wild bird populations elsewhere in the world, and it had published updated advice on the reporting, collection and safe disposal of wild bird carcases.

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