Poultry bosses insisted this week it was business as usual despite the discovery of the H5N1 avian flu virus in migratory birds as close as Germany.
Charles Bourns, the National Farmers’ Union’s poultry chairman, said that farmers were more concerned about soaring energy costs than they were about the potential dangers to the British poultry sector posed by bird flu.
“Everything is up in price because of fuel costs, and that is exercising more concern than anything at the moment,” he said. “People have a more relaxed view about bird flu because it has been around for so long, though obviously they are a little worried that it has moved a bit closer.”
The virus was brought to the European Union by swans.
Owners of commercial poultry flocks of 50 or more birds have until February 28 to register their farms with Defra.
The database will be used by the department in the event of any outbreak of bird flu in the United Kingdom.