Feeds

Will bird flu stuff our Happy Christmas?

Oh no, the turkeys are on fire...

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Will the latest outbreak of bird flu (the nasty, H5N1 strain) in the UK do for Christmas this year what Farepak did last year? Are we all due to sit down to a table of trimmings, without the turkey*?

On Sunday, the highly pathogenic strain of the virus was discovered on Redgrave Park farm in Suffolk. The authorities swung into action and immediately began culling the 6,500 free-range birds, including 5,000 turkeys, on the premises.

Yesterday it emerged that a further 22,000 birds in Suffolk and Norfolk are due for the chop. The condemned birds are based on four farms in the area that are managed by the same subsidiary of Gressingham Foods, Redgrave Poultry. The farms shared many of the same workers, the firm told the BBC, and are therefore judged likely to have come into "dangerous contact" with Redgrave Park's birds.

The extended cull is precautionary, the government says, the goal being to stop the virus spreading any further. But some industry watchers are concerned that if the virus is not contained, the supply of turkeys could be hit and drive up the price of Christmas dinner.

As the nation's Christmas dinner suffers an early culling, the price of a turkey for Christmas lunch could hit £100, according to some reports. Officials in the poultry industry claim such fears are unfounded, and speculation about rising prices is spurious.

According to the British Poultry Council, we consume some 17 million turkeys in Britain each year, 10 million of them at Christmas. As the National Farmers Union explained to The Independent that although the loss of the 28,000 birds is sad, and a worry for farmers, it wouldn't make much of a dent in national turkey production.

But Norfolk and Suffolk are turkey-farming hotspots. Inside the tightest protection zones set up as soon as the outbreak of H5N1 was reported, there are some four million registered, farmed birds (ducks, chickens and geese as well as turkeys). In the wider restricted area, there are another 25 million.

The government's acting chief veterinary officer, Fred Landeg, said: "I must stress again that poultry keepers in the area must be extremely vigilant, practice the highest levels of biosecurity and report any suspicions of disease to their local Animal Health office." ®

*Traditionally, of course, it should be goose. But assuming bird flu goes on the rampage, geese will be just as absent from our tables, right?

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
China building SUPERSONIC SUBMARINE that travels in a BUBBLE
Shanghai to San Fran in two hours would be a trick, though
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me. But at least I can find my way with ESA GPS by 2017
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.