Chicken and Egg Issue 15 - page 10-11

Chicken & Egg. Welfare and Food Together.
What is being
to eradicate
Avian Flu?
Last year AI decimated millions of birds
in America; this year Europe was hit hard.
And yet still the AI focus remains on
protecting our poultry, rather than
addressing the source of the problem.
The live bird markets in Asia, where welfare
and hygiene standards are at best extremely
poor or at worst non-existent, seem regularly
to provide the perfect environment for the
disease to mutate and spread. In our view
much more resource and research is needed
into this area to learn how better to prevent
the disease before it gets a grip.
What happens to Free Range Eggs if
hens are still housed in high risk areas?
Whilst some farmers were able to let their hens out at the end of February but others were
not, Defra decided that all free range eggs should carry temporary labelling to keep
consumers fully and clearly informed. Temporary signage began to appear on supermarket
shelves and labelling on free range egg boxes advising shoppers that hens laying free range
eggs were not necessarily able to free range due to the AI threat. Signage also appeared on
processed foods that contained eggs, and it was encouraging to see that both egg industry
and retailers were keen to offer transparency.
Is Avian Flu going
to impact
on our
hens every year?
Nobody can say for sure is the short answer.
What we can say is that biosecurity, even
for those of us who keep a few hens, needs
to become part of our everyday life, and
especially during the migration season from
December right through to March.
As such we will continue to keep our
supporters, and other hen keepers, informed
of what they can do to improve their hens'
hygiene. This is, after all, about keeping our
precious poultry safe and well.
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