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Rare Disease Prompts Culling of 15,000 birds

The confirmation of Newcastle disease on an East Lothian farm has led to the culling of over 15,000 birds.

This respiratory disease // is usually fatal for birds and a 3km protection zone and a 10km surveillance zone have been put in place around Fenton Barns, Drem, to prevent its spread.

According to the Scottish Executive the disease did not affect humans and was not linked to bird flu. However it can spread rapidly in poultry of all types, and all birds at Fenton Barns which includes several thousand reared game birds and a number of exotic species will be culled according to European Union rules.

Last year July had the last outbreak of Newcastle disease in the UK when a flock of pheasants was culled in Surrey. Besides this outbreaks were also reported in 1997 and 1984.

James Withers, deputy chief executive of the National Farmers Union Scotland, said: "Newcastle disease is, thankfully, rare in the UK but it can have a devastating impact on individual farms.

"The hope is that it follows a similar pattern to the Surrey outbreak which was contained within one unit."

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