BPC “does not foresee” turkey shortage this Christmas
Poultry trade association British Poultry Council (BPC) has stated that it does not predict a turkey shortage this year, as fewer wild birds infected with avian influenza signifies potential immunity.
As Christmas draws nearer, the number of birds infected with avian influenza in the UK appears to be lower than that of the previous year.
BPC chief executive, Richard Griffiths, said: “British poultry is half the meat the nation eats. Across all production the cost of losing birds to avian influenza, plus the subsequent impact on trade, is in the tens of millions of pounds.
“Whilst it is too early to say whether we will see fewer cases this winter we are seeing less wild birds infected, suggesting that there is some level of immunity in the wild bird population.”
Griffiths continued: “We do not foresee a turkey shortage this year, but we do continue to work closely with Government to address the challenges wrapped up in this costly and devastating disease, like having sufficient resource in place to deal with an outbreak. Consumers can support our industry, and therefore our food security, by buying British.
“At the same time Government can support our industry, and therefore our food security, by investing in sufficient resource like enough vets to mitigate the impact of avian influenza on businesses feeding the nation.”
In October 2022, an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) was put in place across Great Britain following a large scale outbreak of the disease, and it was not lifted until 4th July 2023. Bird keepers were advised to keep completing biosecurity self-assessment checklists, with scrupulous biosecurity named as one of the most effective methods of disease control.