Department reviewing request for assistance for bird flu affected farmers

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine is currently “evaluating and reviewing” a request from poultry industry representatives for financial assistance for bird flu affected flockowners.

The request was made in light of the identification of bird flu (avian influenza) in a flock in Co. Monaghan earlier this month.

This resulted in movement restrictions and an investigation into the flock in question, along with three more commercial poultry flocks in the Monaghan area.

These restrictions have now been lifted, but with compliance notices in place.

A department spokesperson confirmed to AgriLand that, although there is no provision currently in place to compensate flockowners for this type of outbreak, the industry request for support is being reviewed.

“There is no scheme available to compensate flockowners for outbreaks of this nature and, therefore, it is critically important that farmers take every precaution against it,” the spokesperson explained.

However, the industry has submitted a request for some financial assistance to support the affected farmers who have experienced significant loss. The department is currently evaluating and reviewing this request.

Regarding the cases in Monaghan, the spokesperson explained: “Restrictions under SI [Statutory Instrument] 701/2006 that had been applied to four flocks, under investigation for suspected avian influenza, have been removed, following the confirmation of the presence of low pathogenic avian influenza of the H6N1 subtype in these flocks.

“However, the flocks remain subject to compliance notices under the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013, the purpose of which is to require the adoption of biosecurity measures, aimed at mitigating the risk of transmission of the disease to other flocks, or its recurrence in the affected flocks,” the spokesperson added.

The department has been in regular contact with the affected flockowners, as well as representatives of the sector, to look at measures aimed at controlling the outbreak.