Bernard Matthews gets nearly £600,000 in bird flu compensation

Bernard Matthews will get nearly £600,000 compensation for the birds compulsorily killed to prevent the spread of bird flu, according to media reports.

Cases of the highly virulent H5N1 strain of bird flu were discovered at a turkey farm owned by Bernard Matthews at Holton, Suffolk in February this year

More than 160,000 of the company’s birds were slaughtered.  The payout for healthy birds killed was announced in DEFRA’s final epidemiology report into the avian flu outbreak.

The report sets out the findings of the National Emergency Epidemiology Group who have been investigating the outbreak in close consultation with the European Commission and the Hungarian Authorities.

The report concludes that the most plausible explanation is that infection was most likely introduced to Britain via the importation of turkey meat from Hungary. 

Such meat could have originated from a sub-clinically infected turkey flock in Hungary which had been infected from a wild bird source which had also infected the two goose farms in Hungary.

The investigation in conjunction with the Hungarian authorities has found no evidence of undisclosed infection in Hungary and the possibility of infection going undetected in turkeys is considered to be a rare event.

Bernard Matthews will receive reimbursement of £589,356.89 for the clinically healthy birds compulsorily killed to prevent disease spread, as required by the Animal Health Act 1981.