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Christmas turkey lack caution as bird influenza erases half of all Britain’s free-range stock


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Customers have actually been cautioned of a “huge, huge lack” of British totally free variety turkeys this Christmas with half currently dead due to bird influenza.

Half of the totally free variety turkeys produced for Christmas in the UK have actually currently been killed in the bird influenza epidemic, British Poultry Council president Richard Griffiths informed the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee.

Mr Griffiths stated: “The normal quantity of totally free variety birds grown for Christmas is around 1.2 to 1.3 million. We have actually seen around 600,000 of those totally free variety birds being straight impacted.”

Overall UK turkey production for Christmas was around 8.5 to 9 million birds, however around a million had actually been chosen or passed away from bird influenza, he stated.

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Asked what that may imply for rates this Christmas, Mr Griffiths stated “I do not understand. That’s actually a concern for merchants. We do not understand how the spaces within retail are going to be filled at this moment.”

Poultry farmer Paul Kelly, of Kelly Turkeys, informed the committee: “I do not believe UK turkey rates will be increasing. I believe it will simply be a supply problem instead of the rates being treked.

” However there will be a huge, huge lack of British totally free variety turkeys on the racks this year.”

Some 1.6 million birds have actually been chosen since November 20 straight since of bird influenza on farms, Mr Griffiths informed the committee, with around 36% of poultry farms impacted by the break out.

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Mr Kelly stated the break out – the worst ever dealt with in the UK – had actually been “ravaging” for farmers.

He stated: “The obstacle for a great deal of the smaller sized seasonal manufacturers that produce Christmas poultry is they have their Christmas flock on their farm and when the turkeys are contaminated they all pass away within 4 days.

” To offer you an example, we had one farmer with 9,500 (birds). The very first infection was on Thursday night, 20 death, and by Monday lunch break they were all dead.”

Mr Kelly stated: “We’re a small company and we have actually lost ₤ 1.2 million this year – simply turkeys that have actually passed away.

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” Thankfully we’re going to get through to next year however … can we take the danger to grow Christmas poultry based upon what we’ve seen this year? We could not. And had I understood what I understand now we would not have actually grown the turkeys we did.

” Seeking to next year, I do not wish to put the farm at danger.

” Without a vaccine in location or a payment plan that is suitabled for function, I do not understand whether we ‘d have the self-confidence to grow Christmas poultry next year.”

Mr Griffiths included: “This year the seasonal manufacturers have actually been so severely impacted. I can see a lot of those taking an excellent tough take a look at whether they wish to remain in Christmas poultry.”

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