Reading Time: 2 minutes The chief veterinary officer is reportedly 'concerned' Credit: Adobe
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Recently reported cases of bird flu in the UK illuminate record-high levels, prompting the slaughter of half a million captive animals.

It comes just a month after a protection zone was installed nationwide, since the latest outbreak of the deadly H5N1 virus.

Now the UK is home to 36 confirmed cases of avian influenza.

Record bird flu outbreak

Yesterday, on December 9, cases were reported on premises in Cumbria, Dumfries, and Galloway. In a statement, government officials confirmed that “all” birds on infected farms would be “humanely” culled.

Just a day prior, further cases were reported in North Yorkshire and Suffolk.

This week, environment secretary George Eustice revealed: “I have to say this year we are now seeing the largest-ever outbreak in the UK of avian influenza, with 36 confirmed cases.”

Birds affected include chickens, turkeys, pheasants, ducks, geese, and swans.

Government-ordered actions taken to slow the spreading include preventing animals from moving.

Additionally, extra cleaning methods must be undertaken as part of biosecurity measures.

Zoonotic diseases and factory farming

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today program, chief veterinary officer Christine Middlemiss revealed they were “very concerned” about the mass outbreak.

Bird flu is categorized as a zoonotic disease, meaning that it can be transmitted from animals to humans. This is also the case for COVID-19 and many blame factory farming.

The founder and director of leading UK vegan charity, Viva! is Juliet Gellatley. In a statement sent to PBN, she said: “The real problem is factory farming.

“Whilst wild birds undoubtedly contribute to the local spread of the virus in the wild, it is human commercial activities, particularly those associated with poultry, that are the major factors responsible for the global spread of bird flu.

Large, industrial-sized units, housing tens of thousands of birds, provide the ideal environment for infectious diseases to spread and mutate.

“…Whichever way you look at it, domesticated poultry are massively over-represented among the world’s bird population.”

Emily is a News and Features Writer for Plant Based News. She has previously worked as a journalist in Devon, UK, reporting on local issues from politics to the environment.