Christmas turkey stocks at risk due to Bird Flu, says SenatorGary Ibbotson 23 Nov 2022
A member of the Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture and Food has warned that the latest outbreak of bird flu in the country has the potential to wipe out turkey stocks for Christmas.
Dublin Senator Victor Boyhan says the avian influenza can be deadly in poultry and is calling on farmers to be extra vigilant.
“Everyone needs to be on high alert now in order to protect the industry and ensure confidence food safety within the poultry sector,” Senator Boyhan said.
“Avian influenza is highly infectious to birds.
“Anyone travelling from an area suspected to be affected with avian influenza or where wild birds have been found dead should avoid any contact with poultry.”
Senator Boyhan warned members of the public to follow some simple but critically important guidelines such as not touching sick or dead wild or farm birds.
Human cases of this strain of avian influenza are very rare but transmission is possible, Boyhan says.
“It is vital that poultry owners maintain the highest standards of biosecurity to protect their birds.
“Strict biosecurity remains the number one preventative measure to introduction of avian influenza into poultry.”
Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue said last week that he is confident the bird flu outbreak won’t impact this year’s turkey supply.
Around 3,800 turkeys were culled at a farm in Monaghan recently after evidence of bird flu was found among the flock.
Restriction zones were also put around the identified farm in Clones.
This means that “any poultry keepers with flocks located within the restriction zones are legally obliged to comply with zone requirements,” according to the Department of Agriculture.
These regulations require all flock keepers or farmers to implement enhanced biosecurity measures and to confine all poultry and captive birds under their control in a secure building so that wild birds, or other animals do not have access.
Minister McConalogue said the outbreak was “very concerning”, but his department and poultry farmers are working to prevent further cases.
In October, more than 30 dead sea birds were discovered on Portmarnock Beach by a local resident walking his dog.
Fingal County Council said it was “likely that these birds died from avian flu (bird flu).
“We would advise the public to exercise caution with regard to dead birds, to not pick them up and keep dogs on a leash near them and report their location to our Operations team who will arrange to dispose of them.”