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Following an outbreak of avian influenza at properties in the Meredith region of Victoria, Farm Pride Foods says there are ongoing health assessments underway in collaboration with the Victorian Department of Agriculture (Vic Ag).

The company said extensive testing on 1 June found hens in all sheds on the Lethbridge Aviary and Lethbridge Rocks sites were negative for AI but testing the following day found free range hens at the Lethbridge Aviary site were positive for the H7N3 strain. This was the same strain found on the egg farm at Meredith on 22 May.

Lethbridge Aviary has around 80,000 free range hens, roughly eight per cent of Farm Pride’s total production capacity.

It said it would seek compensation from the Emergency Animal Disease Compensation Scheme arising from the disposal of these birds.

The hens at the Lethbridge Rocks site tested negative for AI on 1 June and 2 June and is being treated separately to the Lethbridge Aviary site. It will continue to be monitored in conjunction with VicAg.

Farm Pride has a further separate site with approximately 40,000 free range hens in the Lethbridge area which is also subject to monitoring and testing. All the Company’s operations outside the Lethbridge area continue to operate as normal.

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