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1970s

  • 1970 Richard Witter identifies HVT virus of turkeys as a non-virulent vaccine to protect chickens against Marek’s disease and first commercial vaccine becomes available stored in liquid nitrogen
  • 1970 Broiler production is 260 million
  • 1970 The Federation of British Poultry Industries Ltd becomes The British Poultry Federation Ltd
  • 1970 Ralston Purina sell their turkey breeding, growing and processing enterprise to Milo and Ross Shantz and Hybrid Turkeys is born
  • 1970 Ross Breeders Ltd is formally established
  • 1970 First Infectious Bronchitis (IB H120 & H52) vaccines licenced in UK
  • 1970 Essex 70 epidemic of Newcastle Disease (Fowl Pest) starts on 24th August and by end of October there are over 1,100 outbreaks!
  • 1970 Imperial Tobacco Group buy Allied Farm Food/Nitrovit from Associated British Foods – combined Ross/Allied group then produces 30 million chickens (about 30% of UK national output at that time)
  • 1970 Live Newcastle disease vaccines (HB1 and La Sota) licenced in UK 1970 Live vaccine against Avian Encephalomyelitis licenced in UK
  • 1970 Poultry Person of the year awarded jointly to: Cr. TR Morris & Mr S Fox
  • 1971 The BEMB is replaced by the Eggs Authority (right) and under this new direction, producers had to find their own markets. The “Little Lion” symbol was also dropped at this time. The Authority’s main objective was to support British egg producers by positioning eggs as an acceptable food in contemporary society. The Authority’s activities included advertising with slogans such as “Crack a Meal Today”, “Thank Goodness For Eggs”, “Go Smash an Egg” and “The Egg Lover”. At the same time, research was conducted and the issues of diet and health were raised, particularly that of cholesterol intake, and new processed egg products were developed for the catering and consumer markets. Despite these promotional campaigns, however, egg consumption declined during the 1970s and 80s due to changing consumer lifestyles, including a decline in cooked breakfasts and home baking. In 1985 the Eggs Authority was reviewed by the government. The review uncovered a lack of support from the egg industry itself, and the Authority was abolished in 1986, replaced by the British Egg Industry Council, a voluntary organisation
  • 1971 The BEMB Trust is founded using the residual funds (approximately £550k) available when the former British Egg Marketing Board was disbanded. The Trust’s remit was to support the “improvement and advancement of the production of hen or duck eggs in the UK by advancing, promoting, conducting, encouraging, education, investigations, research and experimental or development work to that end “
  • The Trust has, throughout its history, achieved its aims by using its limited funds to: support appropriate PhD projects by sponsoring the student concerned, sponsor a Nuffield Farming Scholarship in an appropriate subject contribute to other appropriate research projects submitted by senior scientists in universities and institutions. The Trust’s expertise has recently been employed to organize a workshop comprising all the UK red mite research groups together with representatives of the research community and/or poultry egg sector from several EC countries. The aim is to co-ordinate the research work of the various groups.
  • 1972 Poultry Person of the year: Mr JB Eastwood (right)
  • 1973 Cobb 500 is launched by Robert Cobb junior at the former International Poultry Show at Olympia, London
  • 1973 The UK enter the European Economic Community and British eggs became subject to the EEC Egg Marketing Regulations governing quality, grade-sizing, labeling and packaging
  • 1973 Elanco introduces the first anticoccidial ionophore (Monensin) into the market
  • 1973 Broiler feed averages £80 per ton in the early part of year but is £100 per ton at the end of the year
  • 1973 Mayfield Chicks build their first hatchery in Ewood Bridge
  • 1973 Soil Association begins certifying members to organic standards
  • 1973 Poultry Person of the year: Mr JA Calvert.
  • 1973 The world’s largest omelette, made from 5,600 eggs and weighing 1,234lb is made at the Surrey County Show, Guildford earning its place in the Guinness Book of Records. This publicity event on behalf of eggs was sponsored by, The British Egg Information Service, SEGAS and Poultry World (right)
  • 1973 Queens Award for export achievement is awarded to Ross Poultry for the first time (above)
  • 1974 Ross Poultry Ltd and J B Eastwood Ltd estimated to represent about 35% of UK annual chicken production
  • 1974 The Upjohn pharmaceutical company acquires Cobb, Inc from the Cobb family and also the Cobb Breeding Company from the Anglian Food Group
  • 1974 American pharmaceutical Merck acquires Hubbard
  • 1974 1st Poultry Flock Farmers Conference held
  • 1974 Poultry Person of the year: Lt Col U Corbett, DSO
  • 1975 John B Eastwood knighted
  • 1975 Live Gumboro vaccine PBG98 licenced
  • 1975 Creation of ISA in Bretagne, France is achieved by putting the breeding activities of the research institute INRA and Madamme Studler together. ISA is part of the French pharmaceutical company Rhone Merieux
  • 1970s (mid) World fuel and feed crisis stimulates use of high house temperatures and tighter technical specifications of all means of production
  • 1970s Hooks decide to stop rearing pullets due to Marek’s issues and venture into broiler breeder production. They team up with Maurice Millard and Donald Welfed of Tadmarton poultry and supply Hinton Poultry with day old chicks. During this time the hatchery reached a weekly hatch of 200,000 chicks
  • 1976 Commercial Broilers 377.2 million, Commercial Layers 49.1 million, Turkeys 21.3 million
  • 1976 Egg Drop Syndrome 76 (EDS) virus identified
  • 1976 EEC Hygiene Directive 118 becomes a EU Regulation – the birth of UK “Poultry Meat Hygiene” regulations
  • 1976 Fred Thacker sells the remainder of the business to Anglo European Food Group Ltd
  • 1976 Fred Thacker and his son David continue to trade as FD Thacker Ltd building a frozen processing factory and trading as Crown Poultry packers Ltd. The breeder and broiler division is named Anglian Poultry Breeders Ltd
  • 1976 National Poultry Diploma Board (NDP) is wound up
  • 1976 Compatoir European de Vulgarisation Agricole (CEVA) founded.
  • 1976 Poultry Person of the year: Mr MJ Stokes
  • 1977 Bob Bland establishes Anitox Corporation in Texas
  • 1977 Commercial Broilers 406 million, Commercial Layers 50.5 million, Turkeys 21.59 million
  • 1977 Poultry Person of the year: Dr D R Charles
  • 1978 Commercial Broilers 391 million, Commercial Layers 44.8 million, Turkeys 22.76 million
  • 1978 Babcock is sold to A.H. Robbins
  • 1978 First inactivated vaccine against Egg Drop Syndrome (EDS)
  • 1978 Merck acquires BUT in the UK
  • 1978 Poultry Person of the year: Dr JB McFerran
  • 1978 Eastwood’s poultry empire is bought by Imperial Group. Eastwood’s operations were divided into Imperial’s existing poultry companies – Broilers and Turkeys to Buxted, animal feed, pigs and arable farming to Nitrovit, poultry multiplication to Ross Poultry and a new company, Daylay is created to be the egg operation of Imperial. Imperial already had two small egg operations – the Ross Poultry enterprise based around Monmouth in Gwent and the former Bibby egg enterprise, Norfolk Newlay, based in East Anglia. To these were added the extensive Eastwood egg operations to become Daylay Eggs Ltd. Imperial also owned the primary breeders, Ross Breeders later to become Aviagen
  • 1979 Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) is established by the Government. The five freedoms formalised as;- Freedom from hunger or thirst by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigour Freedom from discomfort by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area Freedom from pain, injury or disease by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment Freedom to express (most) normal behaviour by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal’s own kind Freedom from fear and distress by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering
  • 1979 Hooks become the sole supplier of chicks to Hinton Poultry following expansion of the hatchery and investment in Western 99 setters taking capacity to 200,000 birds a week

Andrew Parker discussing egg retailing

J B Eastwood

Preparing the world’s largest omelette

BEMB Egg Week Campaign

Eggs Authority joint advertising fund campaign

1978 British Turkey Federation Conference – Derek Kelly, Gavin Pullar, David Grove-Smith, Mike Warwan & Tim Denham-Smith

What next? The rest is history!

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