The latest outbreak of Avian Influenza in a poultry flock in Banbury, Oxford is an acute reminder that the threat of a major pandemic is not far away.
Whilst our immediate concern lies in ensuring the cull of birds at the farm is swift and humane, the government and poultry industry must wake up to the real threat of a major avian influenza pandemic.
We understand that the government plan to carry out the culling swiftly and humanely with containerised gassing and we urge them to take a consistent approach if further outbreaks occur.
Although this recent outbreak of Avian Influenza is the H7 strain, rather than the deadly H5, the government cannot afford to shy away from the potential but realistic threat bird flu poses for poultry and people.
Research shows that intensive farming is often implicated in both the cause and the spread of Avian Influenza. With billions of chickens bred intensively worldwide we have a small window of opportunity to move away from factory farming and the continuing risk posed by highly pathogenic strains of avian flu.
It's more important now than ever before for consumers to support free-range and organic poultry and egg farmers by buying their products.
Avian flu and factory farming:
Compassion in World Farming's report Intensive poultry production industry and the spread of avian influenza ( 157.98KB) shows that the intensive poultry industry is implicated in the cause and spread of avian flu and that intensive farms provide circumstances for mutation and spread of the virus.