An Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) has been declared across the whole of England, Scotland and Wales following a small number of isolated cases being confirmed in the UK.
Following a number of new cases the Chief Veterinary Officers for England, Scotland and Wales have agreed to bring in new measures to help protect poultry and captive birds, following a number of cases of avian influenza in both wild and captive birds in the UK.
The new housing measures, which will come into force on Monday 29 November, mean that it will be a legal requirement for all bird keepers (including those on allotments) to keep their birds indoors and to follow strict biosecurity measures in order to limit the spread of and eradicate the disease.
Due to these new restrictions you will now see some changes in Pets Corner with a number of our birds kept out of sight and some pens under increased cover until we are advised that the restrictions are being lifted. We want to assure everyone that to date none of our animals have shown any symptoms and this is purely a preventative measure in line with the government guidance.
Members of the public are also advised not to touch or pick up any dead or sick birds they find. If you encounter any dead swans, geese or ducks or other dead wild birds, such as gulls or birds of prey, you should report them to the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77. For further information advice visit gov.uk.
If you keep birds there are some simple steps you should take to protect your birds against the threat of avian flu in the coming winter months:
- housing or netting all poultry and captive birds
- cleansing and disinfecting clothing, footwear, equipment and vehicles before and after contact with poultry and captive birds – if practical, use disposable protective clothing
- reducing the movement of people, vehicles or equipment to and from areas where poultry and captive birds are kept, to minimise contamination from manure, slurry and other products, and using effective vermin control
- thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting housing at the end of a production cycle
- keeping fresh disinfectant at the right concentration at all points where people should use it, such as farm entrances and before entering poultry and captive bird housing or enclosures
The prevention zone will be in place until further notice and will be kept under regular review as part of our work to monitor the threat of bird flu. You can keep up to date with the latest outbreak assessments on the government website.
Poultry keepers 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. Keepers should familiarise themselves with the government’s avian flu advice.