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Avian Influenza: Eggs

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 7th March 2017.

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Photo of Anne-Marie Trevelyan Anne-Marie Trevelyan Conservative, Berwick-upon-Tweed

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to her Department's press release of 4 January 2017, Avian flu prevention zone extended, what plans she has to offer assistance or insurance protection to free range egg producers affected by the imposition of the avian influenza prevention zones.

Photo of George Eustice George Eustice The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The measures that are in place to tackle the threat to poultry from Avian Influenza are based on the current situation and the latest veterinary and ornithological advice. They represent the best option to control disease, protect birds’ welfare and minimise the impact on the free range industry, while ensuring that consumers can buy free range products. We will nonetheless keep all measures under review.

Following the announcement on 24 February of a more targeted approach, most egg producers in England can now let their birds outside provided that they observe strict disease prevention measures. They can sell eggs as free range if they come from birds which meet all the other requirements for free range and are: (a) outside the Higher Risk Areas birds where birds are allowed into fenced outdoor areas providing clear biosecurity measures are undertaken; or (b) allowed into fully fenced areas which are fully covered by netting (inside or outside Higher Risk Areas).

Government policy is not to compensate for consequential losses resulting from a disease outbreak. It is a business decision for producers as to whether to bear the cost of netting in order to continue to market as free range.

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