Christianne Glossop© Aled Llywelyn/Athena Pictures/Rex Shutterstock

When it comes to avian influenza, prevention is better than cure, chief veterinary officer for Wales, Christianne Glossop, told producers at the recent NFU Cymru poultry conference.

“The key principles of infectious disease are to keep it out, find it fast if an outbreak was to occur, stop it spreading and to eradicate it,” she said.

“In the case of avian influenza, prevention is always the first priority.

“It is, however, important to know what to do if you suspect signs of the disease, and to understand the restrictions that will be imposed on the suspect premises and the surrounding area.”

See also: Bird flu: biosecurity advice from US

Prof Glossop said the Welsh poultry sector had led the way in terms of its awareness of biosecurity and animal health.

She urged a continued partnership approach between industry, the Animal and Plant Health Agency and government, to minimise business disruption if an outbreak were to occur.

“We are constantly carrying out contingency planning and simulated exercises to ensure we have sufficient resource to contend with a disease outbreak in Wales,” she said.

NFU chief poultry adviser Gary Ford added that producers should continuously challenge themselves to improve biosecurity.

“It is good practice to start thinking about the impact an outbreak could have on your business and try to minimise as many risk factors as far as possible.

“The financial implications are significant for producers having to contend with an avian influenza outbreak, so it is all about planning ahead and thinking about how your business would cope.”

The NFU has produced new on-farm biosecurity posters to poultry members, to help farmers develop a total disease prevention protocol on farm.

The posters can be obtained by contacting NFU CallFirst on 0370 845 8458.