Farmers remain calm over bird flu

SUFFOLK farmers are today remaining steadfast in the wake of the HN51 virus outbreak, as experts remind the public not to panic.Farms in the county which fall outside the restriction zones are taking note of expert advice but have reported “business as usual”.

SUFFOLK farmers are today remaining steadfast in the wake of the HN51 virus outbreak, as experts remind the public not to panic.

Farms in the county which fall outside the restriction zones are taking note of expert advice but have reported “business as usual”.

And the National Farmers' Union have backed their cause, reminding people poultry is still safe to eat.

Father and son James and William Brett, of Happy Hens, Henley, are continuing to work with the 8,000 chickens on Church Farm.


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Mr Shipp's wife Brenda said: “We are not particularly alarmed and my husband and son have been out with the chickens this weekend, not too worried.

“We made sure we looked at the exclusion and restriction zones in place and we are about 100 yards out of it.

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“We haven't been told to do anything different so it's business as usual.”

The family have been running the farm, on Main Road, for more than 15 years.

Mrs Brett said: “Our chickens are free range and so they are not cooped up inside. “e are ensuring we keep the farm clean, as usual, but we can't stop wild bird flying in.”

Charles and Belinda Nash, who run Sutton Hoo Chicken from Kennel Farm, Hasketon, keep thousands of organic and free range chickens.

Mrs Nash said: “We are trying our best to shut everything up and keep the birds away from wild birds. We are feeding indoors rather than outdoors, but we can't completely shut them up.

“We are out of the restricted zone and we can also still take birds to the abattoir.”

Meanwhile, the National Farmers' Union reminded the public not be fearful of eating poultry.

Poultry board chairman Charles Bourns said: “This disease is a disease of poultry and not of human beings. Nobody should be worried about the product they eat or where it comes from.”

However, poultry farmers are braced for a blow to sales as figures said unfounded concerns surrounding the safety of poultry meat may dent sales.

They urged customers to heed advice from Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) which said no infected birds have entered the food chain.

In the village pub in Holton, there has been mixed reaction.

Melanie Shenton, who has been landlady at the pretty Lord Nelson tavern, in Holton, for 14 years, said: “It is awful that all those birds will have to be slaughtered, but like foot-and-mouth, it's got to be dealt with.”

Retired George Johnson, from Halesworth, said: “There is nothing we can do about it; it's one of those things.

“People of my generation were brought up in the 30s, and we have seen the world war, epidemics, scarlet fever.”

Marilyn Hatcher, 53, said: “It is frightening for this to have happened on our doorstep.

“Local people will be asking questions. They will want to know how it got there and what is being done about it.”

N Are you worried by the HN51 outbreak? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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