No free range with in bird flu around

The Poultry Bulletin - - CONTENTS -

At­tempts to con­tain the bird flu out­breaks across Europe have led to many flocks be­ing kept in­doors, mean­ing that the free-range sta­tus can no longer be ap­plied to meat or eggs pro­duced this way.

Sev­eral egg or­gan­i­sa­tions in the EU have asked the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion to ur­gently ex­am­ine cur­rent rules on how long poul­try flocks might be kept in­side be­fore los­ing free-range sta­tus.

While keep­ing flocks in­doors to con­tain the spread of the H5N8 bird flu strain has proven to be a suc­cess­ful strat­egy, the loss of free-range sta­tus has con­se­quences for egg pro­duc­ers.

Present rules re­quire eggs from lay­ing flocks kept in­doors for more than twelve weeks to be down­graded from freerange to barn. With many parts of the EU reach­ing this thresh­old now, there is a real pos­si­bil­ity that very few freerange eggs will be avail­able to EU con­sumers.¡

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