More than 60,000 farmed birds are to be culled in Lancashire in a bid to prevent the spread of avian flu, which has been found at two farms in the county.
Animal health investigators were unable to rule out the presence of the H5N8 strain of the virus at a third farm on the Wyre.
The first outbreak in Lancashire was discovered last week at a farm with 10,000 birds, followed by a second case of about 1,000 birds.
The “pro-active cull” will include pheasants, partridges and ducks.
Avian flu has also been confirmed at three separate poultry farms in Lincolnshire and in backyard flocks in North Yorkshire and Carmarthenshire.
One of the farms in Lincolnshire is a Bernard Matthews’ turkey farm with 19,500 birds, which are also being culled.
Public Health England said the risk to public health from the virus was very low and the Food Standards Agency said said the disease was not a risk to food safety.
Chief Veterinary Officer Nigel Gibbens said: “We have taken swift action to limit the risk of the disease spreading.”
Defra said in a statement that Professor Gibbens had confirmed the culling of 63,000 birds in Lancashire to contain the possible spread of the disease.
Avian flu has also been discovered at one of Bernard Matthews’ turkey farm in Lincolnshire, where 19,500 birds are being culled.
The disease has also been found at a turkey farm in Lincolnshire containing 6,000 birds, which are also being culled.
A spokesman for Bernard Matthews’ said: “Bernard Matthews can confirm that birds at one of the company’s smaller farms showed signs of ill health on Wednesday, January 25.
”The business reported this to Defra immediately and they have detected the presence of the same strain of avian influenza virus that has been prevalent across Europe and the UK during the last six weeks.
“We are working with the appropriate organisations to manage the incident as safely and efficiently as possible.”
This article originally appeared in i