Feeds

Will bird flu stuff our Happy Christmas?

Oh no, the turkeys are on fire...

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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?

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
Bond villains lament as Wicked Lasers withdraw death ray
Want to arm that shark? Better get in there quick
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
The next big thing in medical science: POO TRANSPLANTS
Your brother's gonna die, kid, unless we can give him your, well ...
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.