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Final report into Suffolk bird flu outbreak published

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Old Friday 20th April 2007, 10:23   #1
Chris Monk
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Post Final report into Suffolk bird flu outbreak published

Last modified: 19 April 2007

The publication of the final epidemiology report into the Avian Influenza outbreak in Suffolk confirmed that the probable cause of infection was through imported meat products from Hungary.

The RSPB is disappointed that the Bernard Matthews Company has used this report to call for further monitoring of wild birds, which have been exonerated as a vector in this outbreak.

In making such a call, the company opens the question of who should pay for even the current surveillance measures. The RSPB, along with other conservation charities, have been undertaking wild bird surveillance since the autumn of 2005.

'The cost to the RSPB alone has been £170,000. The company stands to receive almost £600,000 in compensation while conservation charities shoulder the burden of surveillance with no cost to the poultry industry or DEFRA,' said Dr. Mark Avery, the RSPB’s Director of Conservation.

'Calling for more work without acknowledging their readiness to contribute to the costs of a scheme designed to protect their industry reveals a worrying state of denial within the industry.'
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Old Saturday 21st April 2007, 07:52   #2
Charlie M
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This is quite an acerbic comment for the normally restrained RSPB - and about time.

It's absolutely ridiculous that we the taxpayer should be compensating a company that is apparently ranked as the UK’s 12th biggest food brand, with 2006 sales being worth between 300-305 million pounds, when it seems to be their lax bio-security that contributed to the outbreak in the first place...

Bernard Matthews must be rubbing their hands in delight. Just what do the big food producers in this country have to do before someone gets them to clean up their act? 600,000 pounds compensation: as the knob himself used to say in those excruciatingly smug adverts of his, "Bootiful, just bootiful..."
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Old Sunday 22nd April 2007, 16:01   #3
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I wonder how many stages of the Bernard Matthews process of bringing turkey meat from their plant in Hungary to their plant in the UK would need to fail current biosecurity standards for H5N1 to be imported to the UK?

If the answer is "one or more", then what measures are open to DEFRA to prevent BM or other international poultry producers from repeating the same situation, and are they making use of them?

If the answer is "none", then perhaps its time for DEFRA to take a long hard look at whether the biosecuity measures it imposes and (ha ha) enforces are adequate to:

a) protect the public from the threat of pandemics spread by the global poultry trade
b) protect the public purse from needless compensation payments
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