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British Egg Farmers Can Still Use Free Range Label Despite Bird Flu Housing Rules

7 December 2016, at 12:00am

UK - Poultry across England, Scotland and Wales have been forced indoors as a precaution after announcements by the Chief Veterinary Officers of the countries of avian influenza prevention zones.

The requirements aim to protect poultry from a highly pathogenic strain of avian influenza which has been spreading around Europe recently.

Housing birds is more of an issue for free range producers, but they will retain the ability to market their eggs as free range for the duration of the order.

"Housing birds presents significant challenges to free range egg producers but they understand that it is important to reduce the risk of avian influenza spreading.

"It would be devastating for a British producer to have to go through the heartbreak of seeing their entire flock wiped out by this virus as we have already seen in continental Europe," commented Robert Gooch, chief executive of British Free Range Egg Producers Association (BFREPA).

BFREPA said free range producers can take extra steps to give birds more stimulation whilst they have to stay inside the house, such as giving birds footballs, pecking boxes, enhanced scratching areas and natural vegetation like tree cuttings to encourage them to continue to display their natural behaviours.

Further Reading

You can visit the avian flu page by clicking here.

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