Culling starts at East Yorkshire farm after bird flu case confirmed
Culling of 6,000 ducks at an East Yorkshire farm began on Tuesday and will continue through the week after scientists identified the H5N8 virus in a flock of birds.
The UK’s largest producer of duck products, operated by Cherry Valley, confirmed the outburst of bird flu; the first serious case since the outbreak of 2008.
Scientists from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said the potential risk to humans was very low.
The strain is lethal to birds, which die with or without any premonitory signs of infection. Hens might at first lay soft shelled eggs and may then stop laying altogether; often sick birds sit or stand in a semi-comatose state with their head touching the ground.
Around 20 teams of environmental officers visited the site to assist in the cull. The ducks’ carcasses will then be incinerated at “a secure site”.
A spokeswoman from Defra said: “The cull to prevent the spread of potential infection is being carried out in a safe and humane manner by fully-trained staff.”
According to EU officials, migratory birds passing through the country may be responsible for the transmission of the virus in Yorkshire and the recent spread of the disease in the Netherlands and Germany.
A six mile exclusion zone and a two mile protection zone have been put up around the farm at Nafferton, near Driffield.