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Bernard Mathews given the all clear to ship live birds into exclusion zone

Keith Parkins | 13.02.2007 17:48 | Animal Liberation | Ecology | Health

It beggars belief that Bernard Mathews was allowed to continue processing poultry at their Suffolk site during the avian influenza crisis, continued exporting to Hungary, and within days of the slaughter of 159,000 birds, were able to ship live birds into the exclusion zone created around the infected site. Yes, it's business as usual.

"I can say that from the protection zone, from the UK, six trucks arrived from there last week, to Hungary." -- Lajos Bognar, chief vet, Hungary

"Bernard Matthews can confirm that it imports meat from Hungary and exports it to Hungary as well. All these imports and exports are regulated and Bernard Matthews adheres strictly to all the regulations." -- spokesman for Bernard Matthews

It is bad enough that poultry continued to be imported from Hungary to the UK following the outbreak of H5N1 strain of bird flu in Hungary.

It beggars belief that poultry processing was allowed to continue throughout the crisis at the infected Bernard Mathews plant in Suffolk, partly-processed poultry then exported to Hungary.

All done with the blessing of Defra.

It equally beggars belief that on Monday, only days after 159,000 birds had been slaughtered, 2,000 had died of the H5N1 strain of bird flu, three, or was it four, poultry-rearing sheds had been found to be infected with H5N1, the government gave the go ahead for live birds to be shipped back into the exclusion zone.

The purpose of an exclusion zone is to create an isolation zone, to restrict the movement of animals into and out of the zone in order to prevent the spread of disease.

We still do not know for certain how H5N1 spread from Hungary to Suffolk, but the government caved in to pressure from Bernard Mathews, and from this morning, live birds will be arriving at the infected site for slaughter and processing. Can neo-Labour look forward to a sizable bung into party coffers from a grateful Bernard Mathews, now that cash for honours is under scrutiny?

The government is guilty of putting confidence in the poultry industry and compliance with EU rules before animal welfare and public safety.

The action, or should I say inaction, by the government, defies even commonsense.

The agency behind all these decisions, the Food Standards Agency, would be more appropriately named, the Food Industry Protection Agency.

FSA was the agency that a couple of years ago said there was no advantage in organic produce!

Caroline Lucas MEP made some very good points on PM on BBC Radio 4 Monday night, including why do we we tolerate this trade at all.



Bird flu farm 'continued exports', BBC News on-line, 12 February 2007

Bird flu strains almost identical, BBC News on-line, 13 February 2007

Benedict Brogan and Sean Poulter, Bird flu: Is Bernard Matthews to blame?, Daily Mail, 9 February 2007

Sherrod Brown, Myths of Free Trade, The New Press, 2006

Andrew Kimbrell (ed), Fatal Harvest: The Tragedy of Industrial Agriculture, Island Press, 2002

Felicity Lawrence, Fowl play, The Guardian, 8 July 2002,2763,751244,00.html

Felicity Lawrence, Not on the Label: What Really Goes Into the Food on Your Plate, Penguin, 2004

Miliband defends bird flu moves, BBC News on-line, 11 February 2007

Keith Parkins, Avian influenza, Indymedia UK, 9 February 2007

Keith Parkins, Why do we feed our kids junk food?, Indymedia UK, 12 February 2007

Keith Parkins, 'It's safe to eat if cooked properly', Indymedia UK, 12 February 2007

Keith Parkins, Bad Food Britain, to be published

Production resumes at turkey farm, BBC News on-line, 13 February 2007

Lewis Smith and Valerie Elliott, Meat from bird-flu farm ‘was sent abroad’, The Times, 12 February 2007

Turkey meat examined for bird flu, BBC News on-line, 9 February 2007

Turkey moved from UK 'was safe', BBC News on-line, 12 February 2007

Keith Parkins
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Display the following 2 comments

  1. wretching already — blood for blood
  2. imports/exports — dna