Bird Flu Raises Its Head Again
At the time of writing, there have been confirmed cases of bird flu in the United Kingdom, Germany and Holland.
Our sympathy goes out to the producers affected because certain farming experiences are universal, irrespective of the country you happen to live and work in. Seeing flocks destroyed and government health inspectors tramping all over farms wearing protective clothing, is a sight to send a chill down the spine of anyone.
New South Wales hasn’t been immune from this and earlier this year, there were two outbreaks that severely hit egg production. So once again, it’s a shared experience between farmers all over the world.
Of course we talk about bird flu but in reality, there are a variety of avian viruses involved even if we call them all just ‘’bird flu’ for convenience. No particular strain of the virus is considered to be a laughing matter commercially but the government and health authorities are always particularly worried about those strains that have proven to be communicable to humans.
It’s a strange thing but these problems around the globe have caused some people to think again about what appeared to be the unstoppable consumer demand-led move towards free-range poultry farming. That’s because scientists are saying that the virus is, at least in some cases, passed on to domestic fowl by wild birds. So, barn-raised animals should be at considerably less risk from that particular infection vector.
Another potential source, reputed to be involved in the New South Wales cases some time back, was cross infection due to shared equipment. That stresses again the need for both sterilisation and care about who is offering second-hand farm equipment for sale.
No farmer enjoys talking about these issues. Even so, ignoring them won’t make them go away or guarantee they won’t come back. So, anyone involved in the poultry/ fowl side of the businesses needs to be alert for any warning signs in their flocks.