Speaking in the House of Commons on Wednesday during a debate on Avian Influenza, South Shropshire MP Philip Dunne called on the Minister to do more to support poultry farmers devastated by outbreaks in their flocks.
The debate comes as Avian Influenza, more commonly known as Bird Flu, continues to occur at an unprecedented scale amongst both kept and wild birds in the UK. Poultry farmers in England have been worst affected, with October seeing a massive escalation in cases according to the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
The UK Health Security Agency have advised that the particular strain of influenza in circulation, H5N1, poses very low risk to public health while the Food Standards Agency has confirmed that there is no food safety risk for UK consumers.
Under current compensation schemes implemented by the Government, farmers are able to claim compensation for stock culled as a result of the influenza.
Philip Dunne yesterday called for compensation to be considered for those farmers who have lost their flocks from influenza directly, rather than at the point of culling, by which time many birds have already been lost to the disease. He also urged the Minister to review regulations around eggs to ensure that free range eggs can continue to be labelled as free-range when farmers are compelled to keep their flocks indoors during the influenza outbreak beyond the normal period permitted under the regulations.
Dunne also encouraged the Minister to apply similar urgency to delivery of an effective Avian Influenza vaccine as that applied to the Covid-19 vaccination during the pandemic.