Free Range Status For Flocks Made Possible With New Avian Flu Restrictions
After the Avian flu outbreak in several regions in the UK, the government has ordered poultry to stay indoors to protect them from highly contagious strains of the illness. However, starting Tuesday, February 28, flocks will be allowed outside to maintain their free-range status as long as producers implement risk-reducing measures.
Farming unions are happy to bring back their poultry products and flocks outdoors, to maintain their free-range status after the recent changes in the Avian flu restrictions implemented to poultry products in the area, BBC reports.
Last December, an Avian flu prevention zone was implemented in the whole of Wales and several regions in Europe, France, Netherlands, and Germany to be able to contain and prevent the spreading of the H5N8 strain in the region.
Ten incidents across England and wales occurred since the avian flu restrictions on poultry products were enforced including the domestic birds in Pontyberem and wild birds in Llanelli and Conwy. The restrictions created worries for farm owners that it would damage the free-range and meat status of their flocks.
However, the Welsh Government has now extended the length of the zone and has expired last February 28 to the 30th of April. Birds will now be allowed outdoors under the conditions that keepers will take precautionary measures to reduce the risk of avian flu.
In earlier reports posted at the Independent UK, millions of UK eggs have already lost their free-range status due to the restrictions implemented in poultry farms after the avian flu outbreak in the area. Under the European Union rules, birds that are kept indoors for more than 12 weeks can no longer be a market with the free-range label.
Although the emergency measures to prevent the avian flu from spreading held back these products many farmers are still keeping their hens indoors for the birds' protection. To be able to protect the future of the British free-range sector, farmers and distributors of poultry eggs have agreed to label all free-range eggs.
In the United Kingdom, supermarkets carry different types of marks for their eggs. They are categorized as organic, free-range, barn-reared and caged