Fears have started to grow among Irish poultry farmers who worry that they may lose their flock to avian influenza (bird flu), following confirmation that the disease has arrived in Ireland.

Speaking on Farmland, Teagasc’s poultry advisor Rebecca Tierney said that there is a fear among those on the ground that they will have an outbreak, which could ultimately lead to a cull of their flock.

The disease has swept across Great Britain and Northern Ireland in recent months, which has led to the cull of high numbers of birds. However, two separate cases of bird flu have been identified in captive flocks within the past week, one in Co. Dublin and one in Co. Wicklow.

The outbreaks have raised questions about what compensations are available to flock owners who are forced to cull their birds due to the disease. Speaking on the programme, Tierney said:

“The department [of agriculture, food and the marine] will compensate for the loss of any bird that has been culled as a result of the confirmation of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) and it comes from the EU.”

You can watch the full interview with Tierney at the YouTube link below:

Under the 2013 Animal Health and Welfare Act, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine may pay compensation to the owners of animals if they have been culled as directed by the department due to an outbreak of HPAI.

In a statement, the department said:

“The compensation may relate to the animal that is culled, or to an animal product, animal feed or similar item that is destroyed in relation to the outbreak. The compensation may not exceed the open market value of the animal or item.”

It also stated that the compensation is only payable to the owner of the affected animals or items and that consequential losses are not compensated for.

Tierney also outlined that following the cull of the birds, a number of processes must take place on farms to ensure that bird flu has been eradicated. She said:

“Those birds are culled and then there’s a preliminary clean and disinfection where the site is completely cleaned down, all birds, manure and everything are removed from the site and it is left idle then until there is a final clean and disinfection.

“So, prevention of all this is better, we don’t want to see culls taking place and that’s why we really need to push that biosecurity message and ensure that we protect our flocks,” she concluded.