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Welsh Assembly Confident with Procedures to Deal with Avian Influenza

by 5m Editor
27 March 2007, at 11:43am

UK - “We are confident that we have the ability, knowledge, staff, resources and infrastructure in place to deal swiftly and effectively with an outbreak of Avian Influenza if it occurs in Wales.” This was the key message from the Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales, Dr Christianne Glossop, to poultry producers across Wales.

Following the outbreak of Avian Influenza in England, Dr Glossop was asked to address the NFU Cymru meeting and discuss the handling of any future outbreak in Wales. Tony Joss, Head of Exotic Diseases for the Welsh Assembly Government; Mrs Lynn Davies, Divisional Veterinary Manager of the State Veterinary Service; and Mair Williams, Readiness and Resilience Manager for the State Veterinary Service were also in attendance.

The panel explained what procedures would be in place, should an outbreak of Avian Influenza occur in Wales and how the Welsh Assembly Government would work alongside the State Veterinary Service to contain and eradicate the disease.

NFU Cymru Poultry Board Chairman, David Whistance said, “We are very grateful to the panel for attending this meeting and addressing our concerns of an occurrence of Avian Influenza in Wales. We are greatly encouraged by what we heard and I am confident that any outbreak will be handled correctly by the Welsh Assembly Government and the State Veterinary Service. If an outbreak does occur then we at NFU Cymru will do our best to offer any help we can to assist the process.”

NFU Poultry Board Chairman, Charles Bournes was encouraged by the Chief Veterinary Officer’s address and said, “From what I have heard, I am confident that an outbreak in Wales will be handled correctly. However, the knock-on effects of an outbreak can be more damaging – by that I mean the effect it has on consumer confidence.

He warned, “It is equally important that the public gets the simple message that AI is primarily a disease of birds and in the event of a future outbreak it should be remembered that it is safe to eat poultry meat and eggs. The scientific advice remains that the risk to human health is negligible and the Food Standards Agency advice is that properly cooked poultry is safe to eat.”

5m Editor