The European Parliament today (6 April) approved creating an emergency subsidy scheme that will feed money into poultry and egg producers hit by falling demand caused by bird flu, as well as costs associated with disease controls.

MEPs fast-tracked the decision, but they amended the scheme to insist handouts are restricted to “circumstances that pose a threat to livelihoods,” possibly making it harder for producers to get help than they would have hoped.

The amended regulation also strongly backs vaccination, saying “inflicting unnecessary suffering on animals”, making it more likely that European Union money will be available for subsidising the cost of vaccination than culling.