February 19 2009 ~ "assurance scheme is not keeping track of its members' activities".
Gressingham Foods, the company at the centre of the avian influenza outbreak in November 2007 is the subject of this disturbing report from news.five.tv
"....the manager has decided after Christmas that the left over Turkeys should no longer enjoy the welfare benefits. But rather than hand back his certificate, he hasn't even told Freedom Food of his decision. He has then horribly neglected the birds, allowing them to fall into the condition you see in my report..."As we saw in reports from Daily Mail in 2007 the desire for profit leads to inhumane working conditions that numb the people involved to such an extent that more is at risk than the animals' welfare. ".....The latest video is another embarrassment to Matthews managers who had claimed they did not tolerate workers abusing poultry. The new film shows a balding worker in overalls delivering eight separate kicks to turkeys in a shed on a farm at Wreningham near Wymondham, Norfolk. ..."
The intention of the much vaunted Freedom Food certification is to protect animals and inspire consumer confidence. The protection of animals is now considered to be very much connected to the health of humans. H5N1 virus type thrives in systems with intensive mass holdings. When sickly birds are kept in stressful conditions and in conditions hostile to their breed it weakens the immune system whereas keeping animals in a manner fitting to their type preserves varied, robust stock.
November 13 2007 ~ H5N1 confirmed
The Guardian says, An outbreak of bird flu on a Suffolk farm is the deadly H5N1 form of the virus, Defra confirmed today, while the government warned that the disease may have already spread. .... confirmed the strain at Redgrave Park farm in Suffolk. Gressingham Foods, (formerly Green Label Foods) who own Redgrave Park seems to import solely from Belgium and France so we are puzzled by the fact that Fred Landeg said that it's closely related to this summer's strain in the Czech Republic and Germany. The website says of its ducks
, " Gressingham Foods is a family business, and it shows. We are dedicated to the welfare of the poultry we rear....We maintain excellent welfare standards for the birds by maintaining low stocking rates and short travel times between farm and factory..."As for the turkeys, 5000 on the same premises might be considered rather more than "low stocking rates" All the poultry at Redgrave Farm is to be killed.
November 13 2007 ~ Free range or factory? Gressingham Foods near Diss in Suffolk:
"....Today, we produce over 55,000 Gressingham Ducks each week and operate a modern factory, offices and farms employing nearly 200 people.As a knowledgeable correspondent from Holland remarks, "Isn't it a bit early to be blaming wild birds?"
Gressingham Foods imports a wide variety of speciality poultry which it mainly supplies to the food service sector. Our speciality poultry and meats include guinea fowl, poussin, quail, corn fed chicken, whole smoked chicken, venison, woodpigeon, Barbary duck breast, Barbary duck leg, guinea fowl supremes, corn fed chicken supremes, smoked duck breast, squab, smoked chicken breast and venison steaks..."
We think it is. We have been here before. See Bernard Matthews page.
Monday 12 November 2007 ~ Bird Flu in Norfolk. More slaughter
5,000 birds - turkeys, geese and ducks - are to be slaughtered.
Preliminary tests showed the turkeys had the H5 strain of bird flu, but it is not yet known whether it is the highly pathogenic H5N1 form of the disease. See Reuters DEFRA's 3km Protection Zone and a 10km Surveillance Zone are being established around the Infected Premises. " Inside these zones bird movements will be restricted and all birds must be housed or otherwise isolated from contact with wild birds. We are also urgently considering with ornithological and other experts what wider measures may be needed. All poultry keepers on the GB Poultry Register will be notified, and the EU Commission has been informed." See DEFRA The unanswered questions of the Holton outbreak are still fresh in many memories. The RSPB, quoted in the Guardian this evening, has warned against the assumption that the disease had spread to poultry from wild birds. The outbreak is in a "free range" farm. See also the warmwell chronology of the Bernard Matthews case - still very much a mystery. UPDATE In a television interview, Fred Landeg said that it's closely related to this summer's strain in the Czech Republic and Germany. (BBC)
No wild birds have been found with avian flu in Europe since late August and the autumn migration is now largely over.