NFU plea to top retailers for free range poultry farmers hit by bird flu order

Free range Suffolk hens housed indoors following a blanket order from the government's chief vet to

Free range Suffolk hens housed indoors following a blanket order from the government's chief vet to bring birds indoors or away from wild birds to prevent the spread of avian flu. - Credit: Archant

Farmers’ leaders have called on British retailers to back free range poultry farmers hit by an order to house their birds indoors to prevent the spread of bird flu.

National Farmers’ Union president Meurig Raymond has written to the chief executives of Britain’s top 10 retailers as the EU 12 week derogation protecting their free-range status nears its end on February 28 asking them to support producers.

“These are unprecedented times and I remain very concerned about the future of the free range poultry sector for both meat and egg products should the housing order remain in place without a derogation that enables producers to market those eggs and meat to market as free-range,” he said.

“Downgrading these products would have a huge impact on margins in the sector.”

The NFU is lobbying at European level to preserve their free range status by extending the 12 week derogation period.

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