Poultry sector on high alert after avian flu cases

The Irish Farmers' Association national poultry chairman has warned the sector to be on high alert for the avian flu after the first case was discovered inland in Cavan
Poultry sector on high alert after avian flu cases

Vivienne Clarke

The Irish Farmers' Association national poultry chairman has warned the sector to be on high alert for the avian flu after the first case was discovered inland in Cavan.

Nigel Sweetman told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland that over the autumn there had been cases along the south coast from Waterford to Kerry, all of the same strain that has swept across Europe, the UK and the US.

“High vigilance is what's called for, we all operate to a very high level of bio security and I'd be calling on all poultry farmers to observe the utmost degree of security.”

Mr Sweetman acknowledged that there was always a danger of wild birds coming in contact with free range birds. Avian flu was highly contagious. “If it gets into a house it's lights out.”

To date 47 million birds in Europe and 48 million birds in the US have either died or been slaughtered because of avian influenza.

The IFA wants the situation to be kept under review. “It is a big danger (to free range birds), if it is something that is needed (indoor order), then we'd welcome it.”

Farmers need to be “extra, extra vigilant”, he said. They need to take all measures necessary to keep wild birds off their sites, “to adhere to the highest levels of bio security like the Ag centres already do, the whole case of access can be fatal for the poultry industry.”

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