Defra has announced changes to the compensation rules for poultry farmers aimed at speeding up cashflow for farmers whose birds are culled as a result of an avian influenza outbreak. However, the rules that only pay compensation for birds that are alive when the culling team arrives on farm have not been changed. Given that the time between infection and death can be only a few days, it can be the case that the majority of birds have already died before they become eligible for the compensation payment. The poultry industry is calling for those rules to be changed to prevent farms going out of business permanently.
The rules around selling Christmas poultry have also been changed to allow birds to be processed early and frozen for sale at Christmas as “previously frozen” to give farmers a chance to harvest birds ahead of any possible outbreak.