Bird keepers urged to comply with legal changes to guard against bird flu

New legal measures on the housing of birds were introduced this week.New legal measures on the housing of birds were introduced this week.
New legal measures on the housing of birds were introduced this week.
Bird keepers are being urged to review their biosecurity and keep their birds indoors after new measures were introduced this week to protect poultry and captive birds from bird flu.

It follows a number of confirmed cases across the country in recent weeks, one of which was found in Angus.

The Chief Veterinary Officers for Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland agreed to bring in new housing measures, which came into force on Monday.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It now means mean that it will be a legal requirement for all bird keepers across the UK to keep their birds indoors and to follow strict biosecurity measures in order to limit the spread of and eradicate the disease.

Wild birds migrating from mainland Europe during the winter months can carry the disease which can lead to cases in poultry and other captive birds.

Public health advice remains that the risk to human health from the virus is very low and food standards bodies advise that avian influenzas pose a very low food safety risk.

The public are also still being warned to not touch or pick up any dead or sick birds they find and instead report them to the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77 and selecting option 7.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

There is no impact on the consumption of properly cooked poultry products, including eggs.

The housing measures build on the strengthened biosecurity regulations that were brought in across Great Britain as part of the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) in November last year.

The introduction of housing measures means that, in addition to housing all poultry and captive birds, keepers must continue taking extra precautions to keep their flocks safe.

This includes regularly cleaning and disinfecting equipment, clothing and vehicles when entering or exiting sites and limiting access to non-essential workers or visitors.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In a joint statement, the Chief Veterinary Officers said: “Whether you keep just a few birds or thousands, you will be legally required to keep your birds indoors, or take appropriate steps to keep them separate from wild birds.

"We have not taken this decision lightly, taking this action now is the best way to protect your birds from this highly infectious disease.”