Bird flu: farmer speaks out

The farm at the heart of the latest outbreak of avian influenza has spoken out about the crisis and said its focus is on containment.

In a statement to media, Geoffrey Buchanan, operations director of Redgrave Park farm, said the business was fully co-operating with Defra.

He confirmed that the four other farms within the restricted area that are currently being culled as a precautionary measure were also operated by Redgrave Poultry, part of the Gressingham Food group.

Buchanan said: "We fully support Defra taking every step it believes necessary to contain this outbreak.

There is a direct link between Redgrave Park farm and these four other farms as they share the same farming staff. Each farm is too small for a dedicated staff, so a small team of people runs this cluster of farms.

"Despite bio-security measures when entering and leaving the farms and the fact that there are no results to indicate the presence of Avian Influenza at these farms, Defra has decided that there is the possibility of a direct link.

"While naturally saddened to see so many birds culled, we fully agree that the primary concern has to be the containment of the outbreak."

Buchanan said that in total more than 22,000 free range turkeys would be culled, on top of the 5,000 at Redgrave Park farm.

The four additional farms are Stone House Farm in West Harling, Bridge Farm in Pulham, Grove Farm in Botesdale, and Hill Meadow in Knetishall.

He added that while the birds on Redgrave Park farm were free-range, the birds are kept in paddocks during the day and housed at night, with all feed and water provided indoors to discourage wildfowl.

"The turkeys are prevented from accessing the lake on the property by permanent electrified fencing, empty ground and a farm road," said Buchanan

"Similarly, we do not import turkey poults and the feed is produced in the UK. All of our poults are from hatcheries in the UK.

"We are fully supporting Defra and the Veterinary Laboratories Agency in the continued investigation to identify the cause of the outbreak, but have no further information at this time."

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