Bird flu is currently sweeping across the country, as a UK-wide housing order came into effect on Monday 29th November.
Whilst most of the 20 confirmed cases of the (HPAI) H5N1 strain of avian influenza in England are at chicken or turkey units, the disease has also been detected at a game farm in Lancashire.
On 25th November, bird flu was found at Hy Fly, a vast factory farm near Fleetwood, Lancashire that breeds pheasants, partridges and ducks for the shooting industry. The HSA exposed the horrific conditions at Hy Fly in June last year, in which birds were confined to tiny wire cages, with cruel plastic ‘masks’ clamped onto their beaks and brails attached to their wings. The scale of the cruelty is huge; Hy Fly boasts of supplying up to a staggering 223,000 pheasants and 87,000 partridges per week (within the season) to shoots.
According to DEFRA, all birds at the premises will now be killed.
In 2017, the H5N8 strain of bird flu was found at Hy Fly and approximately 10,000 birds held at the farm were subsequently culled. It is believed that a similar number will be killed very soon.
61.2 million pheasants and partridges are released into the UK countryside each year, simply to be used as live targets, the vast majority coming from factory farms such as Hy Fly. Around half of the birds released are also imported from Europe.