6th August 2007
Bart Dalla Mura
UK Chief Executive
Bernard Matthews Ltd
Great Witchingham Hall
Dear Mr Dalla Mura
THE WELFARE OF TURKEYS AND AVIAN INFLUENZA
Compassion In World Farming (CIWF) is Europe's leading farm animal welfare charity. As such, I am writing to ask for the basis upon which you state on your website that your "company prides itself on... maintaining the highest standards of agriculture and bird welfare?"
I note that your company was awarded some £590,000 in compensation for the compulsory killing of clinically healthy birds as part of disease control measures following the outbreak of Avian Influenza earlier this year. I am intrigued to know how much of this compensation was used to improve the welfare of the 7 million turkeys that you rear each year and how much was used to help prevent further outbreaks of Avian Influenza in the future?
You will be aware that the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation stated in a review of Avian Influenza (2005) that globally, intensive poultry production plays a key role in the emergence of highly pathogenic Avian Influenza "because it provides large numbers of highly concentrated, susceptible poultry in which an AI virus can passage, once it gains entry to the flock."
In view of this, I would like to know what your company is doing, for the benefit of bird welfare and public health, to move away from intensive methods of rearing turkeys.
I look forward to hearing from you.