A parliamentary committee is set to ask poultry farmers why the UK's largest ever outbreak of bird flu has been so serious and prolonged.
The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee (EFRA) will hold a hearing into the avian influenza crisis, which has been the country's worst ever outbreak.
Over 160 cases of highly pathogenic bird flu have been detected in poultry and captive birds since October 2021, leading to the culling of 3.2 million birds.
The highly contagious disease is also impacting the supply of turkeys for the Christmas trade as infected birds die or are culled to prevent further spread.
Meanwhile, there have been reports of egg shortages and egg rationing in supermarkets, due to the combined effects of avian flu and soaring costs facing farmers.
MPs who sit on the committee want to know why this outbreak has been more concerning compared with previous years.
Farmers, sector stakeholders and the UK’s Chief Veterinary Officer, who is co-ordinating the response to this outbreak, will attend the session.
Recommendations will then be made to the government about approaching the issue moving forward.
Dr Neil Hudson MP, a member of EFRA, said the avian influenza outbreak was devastating farmed and wild birds across the UK and Europe.
"It is really important that our EFRA Select Committee is holding this urgent inquiry session on this severe situation," Dr Hudson said.
"My thoughts are with the farmers, vets and officials who are dealing with this in the frontline; the impacts of this cannot be overstated."
MPs are expected to ask how farmers might be compensated by the government for the hit to their livelihoods and the implications of the housing order on free range systems.
They may also have questions about the ‘freeze and thaw’ scheme which allows turkeys to be culled in advance for the Christmas trade.
The session will take place on Tuesday 29 November 2022 at 2.30pm.