Farmers hope bird flu has been contained

FARMERS have spoken of their hopes that the bird flu outbreak had been contained.Brian Finnerty, National Farmers' Union spokesman for the eastern region, said they had been encouraged by way the outbreak had been dealt with by the authorities.

FARMERS have spoken of their hopes that the bird flu outbreak had been contained.

Brian Finnerty, National Farmers' Union spokesman for the eastern region, said they had been encouraged by way the outbreak had been dealt with by the authorities.

He said: “There are of course questions about how it got into a poultry shed in the first place, but at the moment all the efforts are being concentrated on making sure this thing has been eradicated as the poultry and eggs are very important for this region.”

He said nationally there had been meetings between NFU representatives and Defra, with twice daily discussions taking place at the local level.

“There are pretty good contingency plans in place. Within the 3km radius farmers have been bringing the birds in, and in the wider restrictive area it has been about separating the birds from the wild birds and making sure food is covered up from wild birds.”

National Farmers Union national spokesman Lee Woodger said the poultry industry typically had high levels of bio-security.

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He added: "In the short term there shouldn't be any significant problems although it will be a hindrance to have to work around the movement restrictions of birds.

"We hope it doesn't last too long. If it goes on for any elongated time it well start to affect farmers but we are not going to complain about it.

"We have to make sure it doesn't spread any further. We have to work with the situation. There is no point complaining about it.”

Clive Frost is the managing director of Magna Poultry, based just six miles away from Holton at Linstead Magna, near Halesworth.

The company rears chicks from one-day-old up to 17 weeks to produce eggs which have medical use as part of the polio vaccine.

Like Mr Blackmore, he has been fortunate because a worldwide shortage of birds means he does not have any chicks in at the moment.

He said: “We normally have 25,000 chicks in from abroad, so we are very fortunate really that there are none here.

“I feel very sorry for the guys at Holton - the industry is very aware of the problem and very alert, taking precautions.

“I am gutted that this has happened, and I feel very sorry for the workforce that are having to deal with this, as it is not a pleasant experience.

“Anybody in agriculture, any stock man, has their stock at heart and this will be hurting them.

“I would think migratory birds would be top of the list of where it could have come from, but that is open to debate, so I should not blame them yet.”