More Than 10,000 Turkeys To Be Culled After Bird Flu Outbreak On North Yorkshire Farm

Chris York
·Senior Editor, HuffPost UK
·2-min read
(Photo: Nick David via Getty Images)
(Photo: Nick David via Getty Images)

Thousands of turkeys are to be culled at a farm in North Yorkshire due to an outbreak of avian flu.

All 10,500 birds at the premises will be “humanely culled” to limit the spread of the disease, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said.

Public Health England (PHE) and the Food Standards Agency have assured consumers that avian influenzas pose a very low risk to people, and that properly cooked poultry products including eggs are safe to eat.

A Defra statement said: “Avian influenza of the H5N8 strain was confirmed at a turkey fattening premises near Northallerton on Saturday November 28.

“A 3km and 10km temporary control zone has been put in place around the infected site to limit the risk of the disease spreading.”

The statement said there is not anticipated to be any impact on the supplies of turkeys or other birds over Christmas.

UK chief veterinary officer, Christine Middlemiss, who advises the government on animal welfare, said “immediate steps” were taken to stop the disease from spreading when it was detected at the farm on Saturday.

She added: “Bird keepers should remain alert for any signs of disease, report suspected disease immediately and ensure they are maintaining good biosecurity on their premises.

“We are urgently looking for any evidence of disease spread associated with this farm to control and eliminate it.”

Dr Gavin Dabrera, consultant in acute respiratory infections at PHE, said the World Health Organisation has never confirmed a case of the avian flu strain (H5N8) in humans.

He said: “As a precaution the local Health Protection Team will offer routine health advice to those working on the farm. We will work with Defra to monitor the situation closely.”

A detailed investigation is in progress to determine the most likely source of this outbreak, but Defra has said it does not anticipate any impact on the supplies of turkeys or other birds over Christmas.

Wild birds migrating from mainland Europe during the winter period can spread the disease to poultry and other captive birds.

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This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.