The UK has seen its biggest bird flu outbreak ever, killing 2.8 million poultry and farm birds so far this year, the government said.

While the disease’s devastating impact on wild birds, particularly seabird populations in Scotland, Wales and northern England, is well documented, figures published by The Independent underscore the enormous toll the outbreak is taking on livestock. is showing.

To date, there have been 144 outbreaks in establishments across the country, including 120 in the UK, 11 in Scotland, 7 in Wales and 6 in Northern Ireland.


Despite the fact that the infection kills millions of birds, the government says this figure is only a small fraction of total poultry production, with a total of about 20 million birds being slaughtered each week.

The disease, known as highly pathogenic avian influenza, originated in intensively reared poultry in China, but through wild populations and global trade in migratory birds. The disease spread to Europe and North America, where farms and have a significant impact on local bird populations.

The government said the risk of wild birds being attacked by highly pathogenic avian influenza was currently assessed as “moderate”. In all, more than 1,600 wild birds have tested positive, but the true scale of the problem is much larger.

RSPB’s Martin Fowlie told The Independent, “We estimate the number of affected people to be in the hundreds of thousands. “

Farmers have been severely affected. James Mottershead, chairman of the National Farmers Association Poultry Commission, said independent poultry farmers “don’t want to see another year like this again,” and asked bird keepers to enforce strict rules to protect their livestock. He urged them to take appropriate biosecurity measures.


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