The Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Climate Change and Rural Affairs Simon Thomas AM has responded to the Welsh Government’s statement citing how it will respond to the concerning outbreak of Avian Influenza in Wales.
The Assembly Member for Mid and West took the opportunity to question the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and relay the concerns of his constituents to the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, on Tuesday in the Siambr.
In December, Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza H5N8 was found in a wild duck in Llanelli following reports of the disease in Lincolnshire and across Europe. On 3rd January, the Chief Veterinary Officer confirmed avian influenza in a back yard flock of chickens and ducks on a premises in Pontyberem, Carmarthenshire. A new case of avian flu in bird at RSPB Conwy reserve was announced on the 9th of January.
The Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Climate Change and Rural Affairs said:
“The outbreak of Avian Influenza will be a cause of concern for poultry keepers throughout Wales, especially since the recent outbreaks in Llanelli, Pontyberem and Conwy.
“The Welsh Government needs to maintain regular communication with poultry keepers, keeping them informed of any developments. It also needs to maintain communication with its counterparts elsewhere in the UK and the EU.
““Poultry alone totals 6% of Wales’ agricultural GDP, which is equivalent to roughly £1 million. Therefore, the Welsh Government must do more to reassure the public of food safety and publicise the need to be wary of dead wild birds.”
“I’d like to thank the Welsh Government’s staff, the Chief Veterinary Officer and the Local Council’s for their coordination and hard work over the Christmas period.”
The Party of Wales AM also took the opportunity to highlight the importance of the free range egg sector for the Welsh economy:
“The free range sector is a very important sector in Wales, perhaps more important here than in England. The current situation can also affect this sector. It’s possible that the producers of the free range eggs haven’t prepared to keep the poultry indoor for such a long period. After 20 weeks, the free range egg category could be lost as the poultry are kept indoor.
This could seriously harm the health and wellbeing of these animals, therefore I asked the Cabinet Secretary on what steps are being taken in this field to ensure the safety and the short term future of the sector during this period.