Banham Poultry, one of the largest poultry companies in the UK is taking advantage of the government’s Covid-19 vaccine program to set trials against E. Coli and protect its birds from disease. To do so, Banhman Poultry is working with the private pharmaceutical company Zoetis and poultry veterinarian businesses and consultants in this area, to the test a new vaccine against E. Coli called Poulvac.
Day-old chicks will receive the vaccine in the hatchery along with other vaccines that are currently administered. It is expected that the vaccine protects the chickens against colibacillosis, one of the diseases that represent high mortalities, poor welfare and economic losses due to poor performance.
Recently, colibacillosis has been one of the major concerns in the poultry industry due to the high antibiotic resistance showed by E. Coli against several compounds.
“The world is changing, and we are all acutely aware, in the face of COVID-19, how vaccination is the cornerstone of disease control. We are now taking the same approach in protecting the welfare of our birds.”
It is estimated that the vaccine will control the disease by improving the birds’ immune system and consequently, the animal welfare. Banham Poultry will include in this trial more than 1.6 million chicks to receive the vaccine which has been approved by the government.
“The poultry industry can be proud of the essential work that it has done in feeding the nation through the recent Covid-19 crises, but now more than ever food security and safety are key to the health of the nation.”
Once the company receives the results of the trial, it was anticipated that Banham Poultry will promote this vaccination program at large scale in all its farms in an effort to enhance productivity, reduce antibiotic usage and increase the confidence in the supply chain.
Banham Poultry managing director, Blaine Van Rensburg, said: “The poultry industry is a success story in its significant achievement in reducing antibiotic usage over the past five years, and the drive continues.”
Banham Poultry is a company that was purchased in 2018 with a further investment of £11m. Currently, with around 800 employees the company supplies whole chicken and selected cuts to some of the country’s biggest supermarkets.
“Livestock face challenges too, and disease threats always exist, and the team here is evaluating new interventions to further protect the health of our stock and the quality of the products we produce.”
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