Following recent cases of Avian Influenza (AI) within the UK, the UK’s Chief Veterinary Officer confirmed that an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone will be put in place covering the whole of England. This new legislation was brought into effect in England at 5pm yesterday (11th November), with similar protocols also being announced in Scotland and Wales.
As stated on the gov.uk website the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) means that the following restrictions have now been brought into place:
All poultry keepers in England (whether they have commercial flocks or just a few birds in a backyard flock) are required by law to take a range of biosecurity precautions. The AIPZ means extra biosecurity measures must be done by all bird keepers (including game birds and pet birds) to protect them from the risk of avian influenza from wild birds.
If you keep poultry (including gamebirds or pet birds) or other captive birds, you must act now to reduce the risk of disease in your flock by following the relevant biosecurity measures required within the AIPZ.
Good biosecurity improves the overall health and productivity of your flock by helping keep out poultry diseases such as avian influenza and limiting the spread of disease in an outbreak.
All bird gatherings within the AIPZ are prohibited therefore the general licence that had permitted bird gatherings has been revoked.
For more information on the AIPZ, please see the gov.uk website here.
A statement from the UK Chief Veterinary Officer Christine Middlemiss said: ‘I have today declared a national Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) legislating for actions all bird keepers must take to help prevent the disease spreading to more poultry and other domestic birds. Public Health England has confirmed that the risk to public health is very low and the Food Standards Agency advises that bird flu poses a very low food safety risk for UK consumers. 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 disease.’
The prevention zone means bird keepers across the country must:
- Ensure the areas where birds are kept are unattractive to wild birds, for example by netting ponds, and by removing wild bird food sources;
- Feed and water your birds in enclosed areas to discourage wild birds;
- Minimise movement in and out of bird enclosures;
- Clean and disinfect footwear and keep areas where birds live clean and tidy;
- Reduce any existing contamination by cleansing and disinfecting concrete areas, and fencing off wet or boggy areas.
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.
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. Keepers should familiarise themselves with the avian flu advice available on the gov.uk website.
Additional information on Avian Influenza can be found on our advice page here.