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Well prepared should avian flu strike - but consequences would be dire

by 5m Editor
14 March 2006, at 12:00am

UK - Poultry farmers in the south west are well prepared for an avian flu outbreak, but the consequences will be catastrophic for any who are affected. John Widdowson, vice-chairman of the British Free Range Egg Producers&#39; Association, said most farmers had increased their biosecurity measures and minimised any contact between farmed poultry and wild birds. &quot;We&#39;ve known about avian flu since last summer so we&#39;ve had plenty of time to think about it.&quot; As free range hens come indoors overnight few farmers would have problems housing their birds if necessary, said Mr Widdowson. And DEFRA had done a good job of consulting with the industry and preparing for the worst, he added. &quot;I&#39;m sure if it does get into the UK poultry population it will be stamped out very quickly.&quot; However, any farmers who were affected would be in dire straits. Compensation would only be paid for uninfected birds which were slaughtered, and affected farmers would be out of business for months, said Mr Widdowson. <i>Source: FWi</i>

5m Editor