Biosecurity Guidance from Defra


The following information has been published on the website:

Wild birds are one possible source of the H5N8 avian flu outbreak in East Yorkshire. That is why we are advising poultry keepers to follow good practice to minimise contact with wild birds while the origin of the infection is being investigated.

This includes:

Isolating new birds before they are placed with existing farm birds, to prevent possible disease spread.

Reducing the likelihood of contact with wild birds by making sure housing is bird proof; minimising contamination by wild birds of feed and water supplies and avoiding siting of housing near water.

Thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting housing at the end of a cycle.

Minimising potential contamination from manure, slurry and other products that could carry disease, by reducing movements of people, vehicles or equipment into and from areas where poultry are kept.

Cleansing and disinfecting protective clothing, footwear, equipment and vehicles before and after contact with poultry. If practicable use disposable protective clothing.

We would also remind poultry keepers to be extra vigilant in providing clean drinking water and food, preferably indoors, to prevent possible contamination.

It is essential that anyone keeping poultry is vigilant for any signs of disease and seeks prompt advice from their vet if they have any concerns. Premises within the Protection and Surveillance zones are subject to specific requirements in relation to biosecurity.

Defra confirm AI strain


Defra confirmed this afternoon that the strain of the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) found on a duck breeding farm in Yorkshire is of the H5N8 strain, which is a very low risk to human health and no risk to the food chain.

Work is now underway to understand the route of the infection.

The exclusion zones around the farm, at 3km (protection zone) and at 10km (surveillance zone), remain in place.

Across the country a high level of surveillance of housed and wild birds is continuing.

Bird Flu Q&A


What is bird flu?

Avian influenza is a virus that causes disease in birds. Poultry, pigeons and wild or migratory birds, such as ducks, swans, and geese, can become infected with the virus. There are two forms of the virus: high pathogenicity (HPAI) and low pathogenicity (LPAI). Pathogenicity indicates the severity of the disease if the bird contracts the virus.

What is the risk to public health?

In this case Defra has stated that the risk to public health is very low. Some strains of avian influenza can pass to humans, but this is very rare. It usually requires very close contact between the human and infected birds.

Does bird flu affect the meat I eat?

No. The Food Standards Agency advises that properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat.

What does the name mean?

The name, e.g. H5N1, represents the particular strain of the virus. The H and N numbers represent two of the eight genes associated with a strain. LPAI strains can evolve over time to become HPAI, but all currently known HPAI strains are either H5 or H7.

Is this the same strain as the recent outbreaks in the Netherlands and Germany?

We don’t yet know. Defra will confirm the strain of the virus as soon as testing is complete.

How was this case reported?

The company, Cherry Valley, noticed a drop in egg production (on its own not a suspicion for bird flu), which after a period of time was joined by an increase in mortality in the flock. At this point there were sufficient symptoms for a suspicion of bird flu and, as a notifiable disease, it was reported to the APHA who then took official samples. Upon confirmation of HPAI controls measures were put in place.

Have the birds on the farm been culled?

Not yet. This will be carried out under the control of the authorities over the next day or so. Once this is complete the farm will be thoroughly disinfected and cleaned.

What are control zones?

The protection zone (3km) and surveillance zone (10km) are put in place to control movement of poultry within and out of the area. Additionally within the zone all poultry should be housed and measures taken to maintain separation from wild birds. Movement of birds, for example to the slaughterhouse, is then carried out under official licence.

Will it spread?

We don’t know yet. The response was thorough and hopefully rapid enough to contain the outbreak on the one farm. Increased surveillance and high vigilance by poultry keepers are essential to monitor the surrounding area for further incidents.

How can you spot avian influenza in birds?

The main clinical signs of HPAI in birds are:
– swollen head
– blue discolouration of neck and throat
– loss of appetite
– respiratory distress such as gaping beak, coughing, sneezing, gurgling, rattling
– diarrhoea
– fewer eggs laid

Low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) is usually less serious. It can cause mild breathing problems, but affected birds will not always show clear signs of infection. The severity of LPAI depends on the type of bird and whether it has any other illnesses.

What if I work with birds?

If you work with birds that are suspected of having highly pathogenic avian influenza, it is important that you are protected from exposure.

If the virus was transmitted to humans the most likely route would be by breathing in dust and mist generated by infected birds and by not washing hands after handling infected birds or contaminated equipment and clothing. The virus can also be spread between bird houses and farms by moving contaminated equipment or machinery. It is important that you use the right equipment and good hygiene methods to protect yourself and your colleagues.

The HSE guide can be found at:

Is production outside of the control zones affected?

No. Outside of the control zones production continues as normal. However, bird flu is taken very seriously by the whole British poultry sector and all producers are rigorous in applying their own controls. This is particularly important given that the movement of wild birds at this time of year makes this an unpredictable situation. However, with high vigilance and rapid response it is controllable and the impact on farmers can be minimised.

Defra Confirm Bird Flu


Defra confirmed last night (16th November) that highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) has been found on a duck farm in Yorkshire. Disinfection procedures are underway at the farm near Driffield, under direction from Defra.

The N number is yet to be confirmed but this does come in the back of the outbreaks of the H5N8 strain in Germany and the Netherlands, and which was until recently confined to South East Asia. These are believed to have been caused by migratory wild birds.

Defra has placed two exclusion zones around the farm, at 3km (protection zone) and at 10km (surveillance zone), following the requirements of the Avian Influenza order 2006. It requires the housing of all poultry or, if that is not possible, the complete separation of poultry farms from wild birds. Movement of all poultry and poultry products within these zones is controlled under licence.

Maintaining a high level of surveillance of housed and wild birds in the UK is key to helping contain avian influenza once present.

BPC chief executive, Andrew Large said: “Wide and ongoing surveillance of housed and wild birds in the UK, particularly susceptible waterfowl species, is key. We hope this outbreak has been quickly contained. Avian influenza is a disease of birds and the risk to the general public is judged by health experts to be negligible.

“Consumers should continue to support British poultry meat, assured that there is no risk in eating cooked poultry, and that is a message echoed by the Food Standards Agency and the World Health Organisation”.

Large continued: “The rapid containment and culling of this outbreak has proved how effective partnership between government and the poultry sector can be. DEFRA, the other agencies involved, and the industry, have dealt with the situation in a rapid and effective way and the controls in place are proportionate to the risk poultry farmers faced.”

Poultry farmers are being urged to maintain high vigilance and bio-security.

Epidemiological investigations into the source of the outbreak are continuing and the British Poultry Council is liaising closely with Defra.

For further information please contact Richard Griffiths on 07545 922117

Case of Bird Flu at Duck Farm in Yorkshire


The BBC is reporting:

‘A case of bird flu has been confirmed at a duck breeding farm in Yorkshire, officials have confirmed.

The risk to public health and the food chain is low, a spokesman from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said.’

BPC will make a statement once more details have been released.

Poultry feed costs continue to rise


London, 6 November 2014 - The Government today released data on the production and prices of animal feed. From January 2006 to June 2014, according to those figures, average compound feed prices for livestock in Great Britain rose by 85.8% for cattle feed, 75.7% for pig feed, 101.4% for poultry feed and 92.7% for sheep feed.

Commenting on the data Andrew Large, BPC Chief Executive, said: “Poultry producers have seen the highest rise in feed since 2006 compared to other major livestock types.

“We therefore urge the Government to act to broaden the range of animal feeds that are available. In particular we seek action to remove the legislative barriers to the use of insect based meal in poultry feeds; and we seek support for the re-introduction of processed animal proteins in poultry feeds, subject to strict controls.”


Media contact

For more information call Chris Potter on 07540 501173

Notes to Editors

A link to the Animal Feed Statistics can be found here:

HSA Awards


The Humane Slaughter Association awards are now open for application. To find out more or to apply click here:

John Reed wins Poultry Person of the Year 2014


Newport, Monday November 3rd – The judging panel of the BPC/ForFarmers (formerly BOCM PAULS) has named John Reed, Agricultural Director of Cargill’s European Poultry Business, as the Poultry Person of the Year for 2014. The award was presented at the banquet of the Egg & Poultry Industry Conference on the evening of Monday 3rd November.

James Hook, Vice-Chair of the BPC and Managing Director of PD Hook, presented Mr Reed with the trophy at the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport where the Egg & Poultry Industry Conference (EPIC) is currently taking place.

The judging panel said: “The generous nomination received outlined his tireless work to broaden the appeal and the profile of the poultry meat sector, and how he has helped develop the careers of others. We wholeheartedly agreed that this effort should be recognised and applauded.”

John Reed on being presented with the award: “I am delighted to receive such an award from my peers. There have been so many great winners who have devoted their lives to this industry – it is an honour to be named alongside them.”

For media or for any photographic requests please contact:

Chris Potter on 07540 501173

Notes to Editors

John Reed’s biography: John joined the poultry industry in 1977 from Agricultural College as a graduate trainee with Eastwoods.  After a change of ownership to the Imperial Group and then Hillsdown Holdings he held a number of agricultural management positions with Daylay Foods (Commercial egg production).

1989 – awarded a Nuffield Farming Scholarship and looked at “Practical Disease Prevention and Control” in Sweden, USA and Spain.

1991 – joined Moorland Poultry Ltd, as Agricultural Director for the Turkey Processor.

1998 – joined Sun Valley Foods as Agricultural Director of the turkey and broiler business.  The role covers the purchasing of feed raw materials and manufacture of poultry feeds, the breeding, hatching and growing of poultry, transportation of live birds, and laboratory services. He is involved with Cargill’s global poultry businesses.

2000 – made fellow of the Royal Agricultural Society.

October 2010 – elected to Chairman of the British Poultry Council.

September 2012 – re-elected to Chairman of the British Poultry Council.

September 2014 –re-elected to Chairman of the British Poultry Council until 31st December 2016.

About the BPC and ForFarmers Poultry Person Of The Year Award:

This Award was first made in 1953. It can only be made once to any individual.  Nominations are sought from the entire poultry industry.  It is presented at the Egg & Poultry Industry Conference’s Banquet held in mid-November this year at Celtic Manor in Newport.

The BPC/ForFarmers Poultry Person of the Year Judging Panel for 2014 are as follows:

John Cessford, ForFarmers

Phil Clarke, Poultry World

Richard Griffiths, BPC

Steve Lister, Crowshall Veterinary Practice

Mark Williams, British Egg Industry Council

About the Egg Poultry Industry Conference (EPIC):

For further details about the EPIC Conference 2014 and a previous list of winners please see the following web-links: ,

About ForFarmers:

ForFarmers (based in Lochem, the Netherlands) is an internationally operating company active in the area of conventional and organic feed solutions for livestock. With sales of approximately 8.5 million tons of feed annually, 75% of which are compound feeds, ForFarmers is a market leader in Europe. In addition to feeds for the cattle, pig, poultry and horse sectors, ForFarmers supplies commercial products for arable and pastoral farming. In 2013, net sales amounted to €2.6 billion. ForFarmers has more than 2,200 employees and 37 production facilities in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and the UK. Website:

About Cargill 

Cargill provides food, agriculture, financial and industrial products and services to the world. Together with farmers, customers, governments and communities, we help people thrive by applying our insights and nearly 150 years of experience. We have 142,000 employees in 67 countries who are committed to feeding the world in a responsible way, reducing environmental impact and improving the communities where we live and work. 

About Cargill’s European Poultry operations

Herefordshire has been the base for Cargill’s poultry business in Europe for more than 50 years. Cargill is a leading supplier and innovator of primary and further processed chicken products to retail, food service and food manufacturing customers and their consumers. Cargill has production facilities in Hereford, Wolverhampton and Newent in the UK, and in France and Russia.

Richard MacDonald named as new Chair of Joint Working Group on Campylobacter


London, Monday 27 October 2014 - Richard Macdonald CBE has been named as the new Chair of the joint industry and government body focused on the reduction of campylobacter in chicken. Campylobacter is a significant source of food poisoning in humans with 70,000 GP reported cases and 280,000 estimated total cases every year. The Joint Working Group (JWG) is a collaborative approach between the Food Standards Agency, Defra, British Poultry Council, British Retail Consortium, and National Farmers Union designed to reduce campylobacter at every stage of the supply chain.

Announcing his appointment, Richard MacDonald said: “I’m pleased to have been asked to help deliver meaningful progress in reducing campylobacter. I look forward to working with industry and government in this fight against a naturally occurring bug that is a very complex and persistent opponent.”

He concluded: “This is where we have to enact all that we’ve learnt over the last five years. The UK is leading the way on what is a global issue, and we have a responsibility to apply ourselves diligently and consistently to solving the problem.”  

FSA Chief Executive, Catherine Brown, welcomed the move: “We’re delighted that Richard has taken on this role. We look forward to the group driving meaningful industry action to reduce campylobacter”.

Mr MacDonald takes over from Peter Bradnock, former Chief Executive of the British Poultry Council, who guided the JWG through its first phase of research and development. The second phase of the work will see interventions and new technologies introduced throughout the farming and production chain, from biosecurity practices on farm, to interventions in the slaughterhouse and novel packaging solutions at retail.

Responding to MacDonald’s appointment, Chief Executive of the British Poultry Council Andrew Large said: “The UK poultry meat industry welcomes Richard’s appointment. Industry, retailers and government have worked hard to understand this bug and now look forward to continue to work together under Richard’s Chairmanship to take our work to the next stage.”

“The UK poultry meat industry remains committed to tackling this naturally occurring bug, but consumers should also remember that they have a responsibility. Whenever handling fresh chicken and other meats – whether in restaurant kitchens or in the home – people should always follow good hygiene practices and cook food thoroughly as this kills campylobacter.”


Media contact

For more information call Chris Potter on 07540 501173.

Notes to Editors

Biography of Richard MacDonald

Mr MacDonald was the Director General of the NFU from 1996 to 2009. Since then he has chaired Defra’s Better Regulation Task Force; is a Non-Executive Director of Moy Park, Dairy Crest, the Environment Agency and the Royal Agricultural University; is Vice Chairman of the National Institute of Agricultural Botany; and Chairman of Farm Africa. In 2002 he was awarded with a CBE for services to agriculture. He has extensive knowledge of UK food and farming, served on numerous DEFRA food and policy strategy groups having a strong background in government relations. He will begin his tenure as Chair of the JWG on 12th November 2014.

Chicken Statistics

Chicken is the most popular meat eaten in the UK. The 2013 annual total was about 870 million British birds bred, hatched, reared, and slaughtered in this country. We also imported the equivalent of (as cuts, portions, and products) another 400 million birds, the majority of which was from other European countries. We can also estimate how many times chicken is eaten every year in the UK. 95% of the population (60.9 million people) eat chicken, and they tend to do so at least twice a week. Over the course of a year that’s 6.3 billion occasions where chicken is eaten in homes, schools, hospitals, and restaurants across the country. Since 2009 the JWG has undertaken over seventy projects on increasing our knowledge of how campylobacter gets into, and can be removed from, the supply chain.

About Campylobacter and the Joint Working Group

Campylobacter is a naturally occurring bacteria found in the gut of many animals. It is a global issue and all those involved in supplying meat have a role to play in reducing campylobacter. People handling fresh chicken and other meats – whether in restaurant kitchens or in the home – should always follow good hygiene practices and cook food thoroughly as this kills campylobacter.

The poultry industry has been working hard to tackle campylobacter and fully recognises its responsibility to ensure the food it produces is safe. It has worked with the FSA, DEFRA, BRC and the NFU since 2009, through a Joint Working Group, on a reduction plan. The partnership approach has been successful in driving industry-wide efforts.

Over the last five years, over 70 scientific research projects into the bug have been conducted and new trials are currently taking place. While much new information has been obtained through these projects, more work is required to find a consistent means of reduction. The British Poultry Meat industry is seeking to update food hygiene legislation specifically to minimise campylobacter.

Over the next 18 months, the JWG will be moving to a delivery phase with large scale trials and implementation of those measures that are most promising for campylobacter reduction. The industry will continue to work closely with all the JWG partners to implement effective measures against campylobacter as soon as practicable

BPC Industry Confidence Survey – Summer to Winter 2014

Economy and Production

  • Compared to six months ago, there has been a 17.5% increase (from 20% to 37.5%) in BPC members feeling “more confident” regarding the future of the industry. From those surveyed no one was feeling less confident.
  • As with the winter 2014 survey the single most important cited factor behind the industry’s future prospects continues to be consumer demand (75%), an increase of around 5%. This is followed by grain prices (12.5%) and global economic instability (12.5%). This is a change in focus from the last survey where regulatory burdens (10%) and skills investment (10%), were considered important.
  • Compared to six months ago, half of those surveyed are feeling “more confident” regarding the future of the industry. Reasons given included investment, which appears to be more forthcoming now. The other half surveyed felt “about the same” in confidence for the future of their business. Although, consumer demand is high there is exchange rate volatility which is causing concern.
  • Consumer demand (71.43%) is the single most important factor behind people’s view of the future prospect of their business, a slight increase on last year’s results.
  • 5% say production levels have slightly increased over the last six months. An increase of around 22.5%.
  • The main reason cited for shifts in production levels include “cost reduction”, “cost reduction programmes [being undertaken]”. However, others cited “fuel prices”, “reduced feed prices” and “utilisation improvements”.

Skills and Employment Levels

  • 5% of respondents reported “no change” in employment levels over the past six months, whilst 37.5% reported a “slight increase”. This is stark contrast to winter 2014, where 90% reported no change and 10% said there had been a “slight decrease”.
  • It has been mooted that the reason for this change is the “positive trend” [the industry and company is making].
  • As with the winter 2014, all respondents with apprenticeship schemes are on track to recruit the number of apprenticeships needed or outlined in the company’s business plan.
  • 5% of the companies surveyed they said their training budget had “increased” over the past six months. Once again, no one has decreased their training budget. It is interesting to note that when the same companies were surveyed six months ago about the winter to summer 2014 period, only 11% thought employment levels would increase.
  • Looking forward, until winter 2015 around a quarter believe their training budget will increase over the next six months.
  • Once again, the industry is reporting a slight increase in its skills base, perhaps reflecting the increased numbers of staff.


  • Over half of all respondents report that feed costs had a positive impact on their business (12.5% said significant positive Impact and 50% said slight positive impact).
  • 100% of members are reporting that planning and environmental regulations are having a significant negative impact on the creation and expansion of poultry farms.
  • Fuel costs have also had a more positive impact on business, with 37.5% indicating they had seen “a slight positive impact”. This is in stark contrast to last winter and before the HM Budget 2014 when 37.5% reported a slight negative impact and no one said they had a positive impact.
  • Respondents also changed their perception of tax policies from the last survey, with 37.5% reporting they had a “slightly negative impact”, compared with last survey reporting the same figure but as a “slightly positive impact”. We saw no one reporting that taxes had a positive impact.


  • The BPC surveyed its members within the poultry industry between the 2nd July through to the 14th July 2014.

Students learn about exciting poultry and pig scholarship opportunities


Please find a link to a lecture conducted by Andrew Large of the BPC and Nick Major, Corporate Affairs Director of ForFarmers at Harper Adams University organised by BPEX, who represent Pig Levy Payers, and supported by the National Pig Association: