There has been another outbreak of bird flu in another turkey farm in Lincolnshire and another in another Pheasant farm in Lancashire. We are told that bird flu is widespread in wild birds across the country and yet the cases affecting farms are well and truly clumped around commercial farms in two discrete but well-separated areas. That must tell us something about the mechanism of transmission – what?
All three Lincolnshire cases have been at turkey farms. Not Pheasant farms, or duck farms, or even chicken farms, but all at turkey farms. Is that significant?
Whereas both Lancashire cases have been at Pheasant farms. Is that significant?
The latest Lancashire outbreak has led to another, a third nearby Pheasant farm, having birds culled. 63,000 birds are being culled. This was done because ‘investigators were unable to rule out the presence of H5N8 avian flu at a third farm in Wyre’. That sounds very odd. Defra hadn’t found evidence for the presence of H5N8 through testing birds – it seems – but decided that birds should be killed anyway. What’s going on? What does Defra think is going on?
The Hy-Fly Game Hatcheries Ltd has posted a statement on their website. The business is clearly involved with a variety of game-rearing activities.
Meanwhile, in wild birds, Defra list 10 sites with 19 birds testing positive of 8 species in 2017. The most recent case was, apparently, a Buzzard in North Yorkshire. That’s the second Buzzard, and the third raptor which have tested positive in this winter. However, there are discrepancies between the Defra list and the recent RSPB information on this subject. The RSPB state that there have been two cases on their reserves this year (which I take to be 2017): a Wigeon at Leighton Moss and a Buzzard on the Somerset Levels. Yet, Defra have only one positive record from Lancashire and that was a Tufted Duck not a Wigeon. Not the most difficult wild birds to tell apart really, are they?