Flu-Hit Farm Fights Back

UK - The Oxfordshire farming family involved in the recent avian flu outbreak is calling for an improved insurance scheme and for the development of a vaccine.
calendar icon 16 July 2008
clock icon 2 minute read

Richard Court and his family were shattered when the highly contagious H7N7 strain of avian flu was found on their 150-acre farm, according to Oxford Mail.

Their flock of 25,000 free-range chickens had to be slaughtered, prompting praise from the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) for their quick action.

However, the farm is still under tight restriction seven weeks after the outbreak was reported, and the family feels that they received insufficient guidance from DEFRA regarding how to disinfect the premises effectively.

They are also counting the cost of the episode, which is expected to total tens of thousands of pounds.

A DEFRA spokesman said, "Final cleansing and disinfection of the infected premises is the responsibility of the owners," and that insurance is a matter for the farming industry, not the government.

She added, "Preventative vaccination of poultry is not considered to be the most effective defence against avian influenza, because of the disadvantages of currently commercially available vaccines.

"Early reporting, rapid action, effective biosecurity, culling and surveillance remain the most effective ways of protecting against and controlling an outbreak in poultry."

View the Oxford Mail story by clicking here.
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