Thousands culled in bird flu slaughter

A cull of 5,000 turkeys is being carried out on the Norfolk / Suffolk border after avian influenza (AI) was confirmed by Defra yesterday.

Over 1,000 ducks and 400 geese on the same site are also to be slaughtered.

The premises near Diss is owned by Gressingham Foods, which supplies free-range poultry to several supermarket giants.

Defra has imposed a 3km protection zone around the site and a 10km surveillance zone. In addition, a new restricted zone has been put in place, which covers much of Norfolk and the whole of Suffolk. Poultry keepers in the restricted zone are required to isolate poultry from wild birds. Movements within this zone can take place, but movements are not permitted out of the new zone at present.

No movements of poultry are permitted at present in the 3km and 10km zones around the infected premises.

NFU president Peter Kendall said: "Obviously this is another huge blow to the farming industry, which is still dealing with the effects of bluetongue and foot and mouth, and we will be working closely with Defra to do all we can to contain and eradicate this disease as quickly as possible.

"We fully support the measures Defra have put in place in the protection and surveillance zones and we will be working with them to make sure producers within the zones understand the implications of the restrictions."

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