Union to host Avian Influenza Roadshow

Chickens on the farm of Tom Forgrave, 143 Finvoy Road, Ballymoney. Picture: Cliff Donaldson
Chickens on the farm of Tom Forgrave, 143 Finvoy Road, Ballymoney. Picture: Cliff Donaldson

The Ulster Farmers’ Union will host the Poultry Health and Welfare Group’s avian influenza road-show on Friday, November 27.

UFU poultry chairman, Tom Forgrave, said the aim is to raise awareness and understanding of the dangers posed by this disease.

“We want to educate farmers about the actions they can take in their own businesses to reduce these risks and so protect the Northern Ireland poultry sector,” he said.

The event, which is principally sponsored by Virkon, will be held at CAFRE, Greenmount Campus.

Avian influenza is the single biggest threat to the UK and global poultry industry, with three confirmed cases in the UK over the past 12 months. The UK Poultry Health and Welfare Group (PHWG) has recognised the need for a greater awareness of these risks.

“Poultry farmers must ensure they are prepared in the event of an outbreak. With the sector employing around 5000 people and delivering sales of more that £700 million for the local economy it is crucial those working closely with the birds are aware of animal health and welfare issues and the risks from avian influenza,” said Mr Forgrave.

The speaker line up includes: Dr Frazer Menzies (DARD Veterinary Service), David Mercer (DARD Veterinary Service), Gordon Hickman (Animal & Plant Health Agency) and Dr Stephen Graham (CAFRE poultry advisor).

Speaker presentations will focus on a variety of topics under the umbrella of avian influenza ranging from disease origins and detection to the importance of biosecurity on farm.

“This conference is an excellent opportunity for farmers to come along and hear these vital issues addressed. With a question and answer session they can seek further information on issues that directly affect them,” said Mr Forgrave.

The event is free to attend, however those planning to attend must register their interest by contacting Angela Scott at UFU headquarters on 028 9037 0222 or via email at angela@ufuhq.com.