Bird flu suspected on second farm

A CULL of turkeys has begun on a farm close to the bird flu outbreak in Suffolk.

A CULL of turkeys has begun on a farm close to the bird flu outbreak in Suffolk.

Free-range birds at Grove Farm in Botesdale are suspected of having the disease, Defra said.

The 5,500 turkeys were among birds on four farms due to be culled as a precautionary measure after Defra assessed they had “dangerous contact” with the initial case of the deadly H5N1 strain of the virus.

But the cull has since become one of “slaughter on suspicion” after animal health officials turning up to kill the birds found 30 dead turkeys.

The premises is within the two-mile protection zone set up around Redgrave Park Farm after turkeys there were found to have the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain of the disease earlier this week.

The other three premises are outside the six-mile surveillance zone but within the restricted zone which covers Suffolk and most of Norfolk, Defra said.

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Culls of poultry are taking place there as a precautionary measure after Defra decided there was a danger the birds had been exposed to the virus by the movement of people from the initial outbreak.

The culls are not expected to be carried out until tomorrow.

They will be at Stone House Farm in West Harling, Norfolk, Bridge Farm, in Pulham Market, Norfolk, and Hill Meadow in Knettishall, Suffolk.

In all, 22,000 free-range turkeys will be killed, in addition to the 6,500 turkeys, ducks and geese culled at the free-range rearing unit at Redgrave Park farm.

Defra has also confirmed samples have now been taken from all the farms and are being investigated at a laboratory in Weybridge, to see if avian influenza had spread from Redgrave.

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