NFU calls for calm over bird flu find

THE chairman of Suffolk's National Farmer's Union last night urged the people of East Anglia not to panic as it emerged that bird flu had reached British shores.

THE chairman of Suffolk's National Farmer's Union last night urged the people of East Anglia not to panic as it emerged that bird flu had reached British shores.

John Collen spoke to the East Anglian Daily Times after preliminary tests on a swan found dead in Fife, Scotland, found “highly pathogenic H5 avian flu.”

He said: “Clearly, it's a very concerning stage. I think it's an accepted fact that it was a case of when and not if, and it's certainly a day that we've been dreading.

“It's crystal ball gazing, but I think it's fair to say that it will not have a positive effect on farmers' pockets.


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“There are large numbers of poultry in East Anglia currently and a lot of the poultry is now free range and therefore has open access to the outside.

“If it is the strain which we fear - HN51 - then obviously it will have a large impact on the UK flock.

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“The most important message is not to panic. The British flock remains free of bird flu and the bio-security measures that are in place should ensure that it remains free of bird flu, even if there are more cases in wild birds.”

Mr Collen added: “Farmers should be doubly sensitive about bio-security measures - things like fresh stock entering farms. It's always been very important and this just emphasises that.

“Public perception is a concern - but it has to be stressed that bird flu is a disease of birds and nothing else.

“People should absolutely not be dissuaded from buying poultry. It's safe to eat and will remain so.”

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