Thousands of birds culled at farm amid H5N1 flu outbreak

Shocking images show thousands of dead chickens being dumped into a truck amid the bird flu outbreak following a cull at a farm which supplies some of Britain’s major supermarkets. The disturbing scenes were captured at Ivy House Farm in Alford, Lincs, and have emerged as a human case of bird flu was confirmed yesterday (Thurs). The current outbreak is the largest ever recorded in Britain with around a million poultry believed to have had to be culled as part of efforts to control the virus.

And horrific images taken at at the LJ Fairburn-owned last month shows lifeless birds being rounded up by JCB diggers and loaded into trucks to be taken away. Workers can also be seen in blue hazmat suits loading the dead carcasses into industrial wheelbarrows in the county where the virus was first confirmed.

Bird culling taking place at a Lincolnshire farm due to spread of avian flu

Nine farms nearby had to be shut down following the outbreak at the premises which has supplied eggs to the likes of Aldi, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons. Animal welfare charity Open Cages, which captured the images, is calling for the government to ban factory farming which it says spreads diseases “like wildfire”.

Open Cages CEO Connor Jackson said: “These images should shock us more than they do. It’s an absolutely horrendous sight. “The ease at which the farming industries cull animal lives shows how little they are valued, no matter how necessary it is to do.

We are failing to protect these animals because of our reliance on intensive farming: they should never have been infected in the first place.” According to the charity, discharge and fluids from the birds can be seen in the machinery as the dust enters the open air.
They also claimed wheelbarrows of dead and possibly infected birds were left in the open air whilst the workers went on a lunch break.

Mr Jackson added: “Bird flu was once a very rare disease among chickens, but today there are outbreaks occurring every year: this footage helps explain why. “When you take tens of thousands of chronically stressed animals and cram them into a filthy indoor facility you create an ideal environment for disease.

“The more the animals suffer, the more stressed they become, and the less their immune systems can cope. Deadly diseases like bird flu can then emerge easily or give foreign strains the perfect breeding ground. “On a factory farm a virus can spread like wildfire and provide an ideal chance to mutate, especially in highly intensified poultry capitals like Lincolnshire, East Anglia and Herefordshire.

“It’s no surprise that nine farms were hit in the immediate area of where this footage was captured. “Clearly, biosecurity and mass killing are not solving this problem as it only addresses symptoms which are getting worse and worse.” It comes after a person in the South West of England is believed to have become the first in the UK to be infected with a new strain of bird flu – H5N1.

The H5N1 strain is currently circulating among birds and outbreaks have also been confirmed in other parts of the country.

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