NSW farms on alert as Vic poultry in mandatory bird flu isolation

Victorian bird flu outbreak: Tamworth egg farmer Bede Burke expects outbreak to put supply pressures on NSW farmers

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ON ALERT: Tamworth egg farmer Bede Burke expects the Victorian bird flu outbreak to put pressure on NSW producers. Photo: Gareth Gardner

ON ALERT: Tamworth egg farmer Bede Burke expects the Victorian bird flu outbreak to put pressure on NSW producers. Photo: Gareth Gardner

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A bird flu outbreak in Victoria that has seen more than 460,000 birds culled since July is expected to put pressure on poultry farmers in regional NSW.

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A BIRD FLU outbreak in Victoria that has seen more than 460,000 birds culled since July is expected to put pressure on poultry farmers in regional NSW.

Tamworth egg farmer Bede Burke said attention to biosecurity has skyrocketed amid the news of Victoria's infected farms.

"If you take up to half a million birds out of a 21 million bird flock, of course it will put supply pressures out there," he said.

"What's interesting in this outbreak is that it's multi-species, with not just hens but turkeys and emus impacted.

"We know that all species are susceptible, but to see three species hit in the outbreak it shows how vulnerable we are and how a highly pathogenic organism stops nowhere."

It marks the first time Australia has implemented a housing order for poultry, until the end of September, in an effort to stop wild birds coming into contact with domestic stock.

It means all poultry owners within the Golden Plains Shire restricted and control zones with even two or three chickens or birds are legally required to keep them inside.

There are six farms in Victoria infected with three different strains of the virus, and Mr Burke said no poultry farm can consider themselves immune.

"We had the last big outbreak between Cowra and Young with a similar amount of birds lost," he said.

"You don't know when it will hit you because you don't see it until the flock becomes unhealthy with chronic symptoms, but it is a notifiable disease.

"NSW and Victoria came out of the salmonella issue the previous year with a lot of farms closed down through that, so we are on high alert.

"We are doing everything we can as an industry in NSW to ensure we protect ourselves as best we can."

The avian influenza outbreak in Victoria started at the end of July at Lethbridge when wild birds came into contact with free range poultry.

A number of countries temporarily banned the import of poultry from the state.

The strains are not considered by health officials to pose a risk to humans, except in rare cases with direct contact with sick birds.

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