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Irish govt offers financial support to 14 bird flu flocks

A number of poultry farmers in the Republic of Ireland that suffered total flock losses due to Avian Influenza (LPAI) are to be compensated by the Irish government.

The 14 flock owners are all located in the Monaghan region which is the centre of poultry production in the country. They each lost all their birds during the past 4 months as low pathogenic avian Influenza (LPAI), or bird flu, was confirmed. Administered by the Department of Agriculture the flock owners are set to receive financial aid under a government ‘De Minimus’ aid scheme.

An outbreak of LPAI in the hart of a Irish poultry production area could have been worse if there had‘nt been a coordinated response of everyone involved. Photo: Anne van der Woude
An outbreak of LPAI in the hart of a Irish poultry production area could have been worse if there had‘nt been a coordinated response of everyone involved. Photo: Anne van der Woude

The encouraging step has been welcomed by the Irish Farmers Association whose poultry chairman Andy Boylan said the funds will go some of the way to counteract the farmers losses.

Without this financial support from poultry processors, egg packers, feed millers, broiler growers and other industry stakeholders, there could have been many more than 14 flocks affected by LPAI.” – Andy Boylan.

Boylan said: “Following an IFA submission made to the Department of Agriculture seeking financial assistance, and extensive lobbying by many IFA members, particularly in the Cavan and Monaghan regions, the Department of Agriculture has introduced a ‘De Minimus’ scheme for the 14 farms affected.”

The scheme is only open to farms affected up until July 1. A payment of € 20,000 will be made available to all successful applicants to the scheme, totalling € 280,000. “While this will not cover the losses that any poultry farmer incurred due to LPAI infection on their farms, it will go some way towards the costs incurred during the cull and disinfection process.” Boylan explained. “The supports are welcome and all stakeholders must continue the ongoing dialogue in an effort to tackle such diseases in the sector,” he said.

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Tribute to all involved

This strain of Avian Influenza was a low pathogen type, which carries zero risk to human health and is not notifiable, meaning there is no onus on the farmer to cull the flock, and no requirement for government or EU compensation.

The realities of LPAI disease means that production losses, and the high risk of infection spreading to neighbouring farms is so great, that the only viable solution is to completely cull infected flocks and disinfect the premises.

Boylan paid tribute to everybody in the poultry industry, which rallied at the onset of this disease threat in February and created a fund to provide assistance to the flock owners. He added: “Without this financial support from poultry processors, egg packers, feed millers, broiler growers and other industry stakeholders, there could have been many more than 14 flocks affected by LPAI.” Mr Boylan reminded all poultry farmers to maintain the highest standards of bio-security on their poultry farms.