Bird flu puts Irish poultry sector on amber alert

Ireland’s poultry industry has increased all of its biosecurity measures in the wake of the confirmed Avian Influenza (bird flu) outbreaks in the Netherlands and the UK, according to Carton Brothers’ Group Managing Director Vincent Carton.

“We are on amber alert, with all our growers informed of the steps they must take to enhance their biosecurity measures. We can’t stop the spread of the disease on the back of changing wind patterns or the behaviour of migrating birds. But we can act to ensure that the disease does not spread to this country as a consequence of human traffic on and off our farms.

“We have also stepped up our flock monitoring systems in order to ensure that we have every possible warning of health problems developing within our bird populations. For example, we normally check the automated weigh data coming back from our houses every 24 hours. This time period has now been reduced to six hours, given that any fall off in the activity of the birds is an indicator of a disease challenge.”

He said that the weather patterns impacting on the island of Ireland over the next few days should act in our favour.

“Most of our weather will be coming up from the Bay of Biscay at least until the weekend.

“The last thing we need is a predisposition to an easterly airflow at the present time.”

The Carton Brothers’ representative also pointed out that the challenges now confronting the Dutch poultry sector may well turn out to be a good news story for the industry in Ireland.

“My understanding is that all Dutch poultry exports have now been halted for a three-day period.

“Dutch chicken fillets account for 45% of this sector in Ireland. And with this product no longer available, the knock-on effect for local processors should be positive.”

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