Poultry farmers face export ban as vets warn threat is here to stay

UK - Britain faces the loss of £370 million in export trade in meat and live birds after the arrival of the avian flu virus in the poultry industry.
calendar icon 5 February 2007
clock icon 3 minute read
Ministers expect to receive reports today from embassies outside the European Union that countries have banned trade with the UK on poultry meat. After a similar outbreak in France last year countries outside the EU imposed immeditate trade bans of at least six months.

Chicken and turkey farmers and processors are also bracing themselves for a backlash against poultry meat in Britain and are desperately trying to persuade consumers to hold their nerve and save the £3.4 billion-a-year market in Britain.

However, leading vets are concerned that the disease may now be rife in wild birds around Britain and on the Continent and the country must be prepared to live with a constant threat of a bird flu outbreak.

Public anxiety over the outbreak at the Bernard Matthews plant at Holton, in Suffolk, was further heightened when Patricia Hewitt, the Health Secretary, confirmed yesterday that the Government was preparing “very, very seriously and thoroughly for the possibility of a pandemic flu”.

A mass order for protective masks was being considered for the country, she said.

Source: The Times

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