New rules for bird owners after flu outbreak

By Michael Upton | 22/01/2018

New rules for bird owners after flu outbreak
Nigel Gibbens

PEOPLE who keep poultry or other domestic birds are being warned that new measures are in place following confirmed cases of bird flu in the UK.

The Government’s Chief Veterinary Officer has declared the whole of England a bird flu prevention zone after 13 dead wild birds were confirmed to have the virus in Warwickshire. 

The measures mean it is a legal requirement for all bird keepers to follow strict biosecurity measures. 

Last week 17, wild birds tested positive in Dorset and a total of 31 infected birds have now been identified at that site. 

Defra took swift action to put a local prevention zone in the area on Friday.
Because the disease is not isolated to a single site, the decision has been taken to extend the prevention zone across the whole country on a precautionary basis. 

Public Health England have advised the risk to public health remains very low and the Food Standards Agency have said that bird flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.

The Chief Veterinary Officer, Nigel Gibbens, said: “Whether you keep just a few birds or thousands, you are now legally required to meet enhanced biosecurity requirements and this is in your interests to do, to protect your birds from this highly infectious virus.”

Cllr David Roche, Rotherham Borough Council’s Cabinet member for adult social care and health, added: “I would urge all keepers of poultry to heed this advice and ensure that both they and their birds are protected.”

Poultry keepers and members of the public should report dead wild birds to the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77 and keepers should report suspicion of disease to APHA on 03000 200 301. 

Anyone concerned that a poultry keeper is failing to comply with the requirements can report it to Rotherham's Animal Health Inspectors on 01709 823164.

Advice on Avian flu can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/avian-influenza-bird-flu.
 


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