Avian Flu has the 'potential to be utterly devastating to the industry' says Upper Bann MP Carla Lockhart

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Avian Flu has ‘the potential to be utterly devastating for the industry’ says a DUP MP who called on the response be properly resourced financially and with the best bio-security.

Upper Bann MP Carla Lockhart urged DEFRA to ensure adequate labour and financial resources are provided to address the threat of Avian Flu across the UK.

Mrs Lockhart made the call during a Ministerial Statement by DEFRA Minister Mark Spencer in the House of Commons this week.

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Upper Bann MP Carla Lockhart.Upper Bann MP Carla Lockhart.
Upper Bann MP Carla Lockhart.
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Speaking in Westminster, Mrs Lockhart said: “The present threat of avian flu is a deeply worrying situation. If avian flu were to enter our commercial flock in Northern Ireland, it would have a devastating impact on our poultry industry, including many family farms, on international trade and on the wider economy.

"I pressed the Minister in the House of Commons to confirm that all resources to address outbreaks and prevention – finance and compensation, labour and gas stocks – are being made available to tackle this threat. Specifically on compensation, it is vital that there is adequate finance to pay it and that it will be paid promptly to protect family farms for whom cashflow is vitally important.

"Assurances were received from the Minister in relation to labour and finance. Obviously the priority is to prevent outbreaks through the very best biosecurity practices being in place. It is also important that all those who keep flocks have them registered.

"This has the potential to be utterly devastating for the industry and it is imperative that all possible resources are directed towards combatting that threat.”