Poultry sector takes legal action over bird flu compensation

21-12-2022 | |
In the UK, compensation is currently based on the value of any surviving healthy birds following an outbreak of bird flu. Photo: Hans Princes
In the UK, compensation is currently based on the value of any surviving healthy birds following an outbreak of bird flu. Photo: Hans Princes

Moves to secure a better compensation deal for poultry farmers affected by bird flu have prompted a legal challenge by a group of National Farmers’ Union members.

The case is being brought against the UK’s Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) over the way compensation is being paid following outbreaks. Compensation is currently based on the value of any surviving healthy birds following an outbreak of the disease, with birds that have died or are sick not qualifying for any payment.

Poultry farmers have been dismayed at the APHA’s lack of culling resources and resultant delays which have meant they have lost far more birds to avian influenza, resulting in lower compensation rates.

And although the rules were changed at the end of October so that compensation was paid from the outset of planned culling, the NFU says this is still not good enough, arguing it can take 48 hours from confirmation of the disease on a holding from the chief vet to the issue of culling approval, resulting in significant bird losses.

“…misinterpreted Defra’s legislation on compensation…”

James Mottershead, NFU poultry board chair, said members bringing the case felt the APHA had misinterpreted Defra’s legislation on compensation, which was leading to substantial shortfalls in the payments being made.

“The financial implication of avian influenza are huge, and the emotional strain on affected farmers and their families is devastating, with many now forced to re-consider their future.

“This is the worst outbreak of the disease in the UK to date, with no end in sight. We need this matter resolved as soon as possible. This case could have far-reaching implication for other NFU poultry members and that is why the NFU has decided to become an interested party in this case, enabling us to submit our own evidence in support of our members,” he told farming media.

Mcdougal
Tony Mcdougal Freelance Journalist



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