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Highly pathogenic H5N8 avian influenza confirmed on Herefordshire broiler breeder farm

An avian influenza outbreak

A BROILER BREEDER farm contracted to Avara Foods has become the second commercial poultry site hit by avian influenza this winter, with Defra confirming an H5N8 strain.

Birds on the site south-west of Leominster, Herefordshire, will be humanely culled and a 3km Protection Zone, as well as a 10km Surveillance Zone, have been established around the farm.

See also: Avian influenza: How to spot it and ways to prevent it

An Avara spokesman said there was a large number of poultry farms in the region.

“We have enacted our contingency plan and are working closely with government agencies and our wider suppliers and farming operations to manage this incident effectively, protect the wider Avara supply chain and ensure that supply is not disrupted. 

“Additional precautionary measures are in place across our agricultural operations but it is important to stress that there is no risk to human health or food safety.”

It follows a confirmed case on a broiler breeder rearer farm in Cheshire last week, and an unrelated H5N2 outbreak in Kent a week earlier.

The Animal and Plant Health Agency has detected H5N8 in wild birds across the south west of England.

Three wild geese near Stroud, Gloucestershire, have been found with the virus, as have swans near Dawlish in Devon and a wild goose near Weymouth in Dorset.

Earlier this week, authorities in the Republic of Ireland also confirmed that a dead peregrine falcon also had H5N8.

And in North-Western Europe thousands of birds have been found to have died, with a small number of commercial cases.