New Bird Flu rules from Monday 7

As bird flu continues to spread, both in the wild and on poultry farms, new rules are being introduced. From October this year biosecurity measures that were brought in as part of the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone. This now covers all of England. The AIPZ means that all bird keepers need to take extra precautions. These include:

  • restricting access for non-essential people on site,
  • ensuring workers change clothing and footwear before entering bird enclosures and
  • cleaning and disinfecting vehicles regularly to limit the risk of the disease spreading.

From 7 November rules will be tightened still further. This means that all bird keepers must house their birds indoors. They must implement strict biosecurity measures to help protect their flocks from the threat of avian influenza. That is regardless of whatever type or size of birds you keep. Introducing these steps on farm is the most effective way in reducing the risk of disease spreading.

Dr Christine Middlemiss, the UK’s Chief Veterinary Officer, said: “We are seeing a growing number of bird flu cases on commercial farms. Also in backyard birds across the country and driven by high levels of disease within wild birds. Unfortunately we expect the number of cases to continue to rise over the coming months as migratory birds return to the UK, bringing with them further risk of disease that can spread into our kept flocks.”

Public health advice remains that the risk to human health from the virus is very low. Food standards bodies advise that avian influenzas pose a very low food safety risk for UK consumers. There is no impact on the consumption of properly cooked poultry products, including eggs.

Do not touch or pick up any dead or sick birds that you find. You should report them to the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77.

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