A second flock of birds has been culled in NI due to a confirmed outbreak of the highly pathogenic H5N8 subtype of Avian Influenza (bird flu).

The 31,000 laying flock on a farm between Moira and Lisburn was culled at the end of last week, ahead of the confirmation that it was the H5N8 subtype, which came through on Sunday.

It is the second outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza in NI, coming after the virus was found on a farm near Clough in Co Antrim at the start of the year.

In total, around 80,000 birds have been culled across the business

Initially around 30,000 pullets were culled in this outbreak, but it was later established that the flock was associated with a second unit owned by the same family.

In total, around 80,000 birds have been culled across the business.

A 3km protection zone and 10km surveillance zone are in place around both outbreaks.

Speaking at the Stormont Agriculture committee, NI chief vet Robert Huey urged all poultry keepers to look again at their biosecurity, and challenged poultry companies to also play their part.

“I need them to check and make sure that what they think is happening on farms, is actually happening,” said Huey.

“This is a very serious epizootic disease and a very major issue for the NI poultry industry. We all have to do our bit to get on top of this,” he told MLAs.

It is also understood that there have been other cases investigated by DAERA in recent days, but these have turned up negative results.

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