18 July 2018 | Online since 2003

Farming leaders raise concerns about backyard flocks during free range housing order

5 January 2017| Views 473

Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom and NFU president Meurig Raymond have both spoken out about the potential avian influenza threat to the British poultry industry posed by backyard poultry keepers failing to follow safety rules.

Although a housing order has been put in place for poultry keepers across the whole of the United Kingdom, highly pathogenic H5N8 avian influenza has just been confirmed in a backyard flock of chickens and ducks in Carmarthenshire, Wales. It is the same strain of the virus found on a turkey unit in Lincolnshire just before Christmas and the same one that has been circulating in continental Europe.

Ranger TV raised the issue of backyard birds with the Secretary of State and with the NFU president during the Oxford Farming Conference. Andrea Leadsom said that smallholders must comply with the chief vet's instructions. Meurig Raymond called for action against those who disobeyed the rules.

The Secretary of State confirmed to Ranger TV that the current housing order would be extended until the end of February.