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New measures in force after avian influenza case confirmed at poultry farm

3km and 10km temporary control zones now introduced

Avian influenza

New restrictions have come into force after a case of avian influenza (bird flu) was confirmed in chickens at a poultry farm near Barrow upon Soar in Charnwood.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has now put 3km and 10km Temporary Control Zones in place surrounding the infected premises to limit the risk of the disease spreading, which means it is a legal requirement for all bird keepers in the affected area to follow increased biosecurity measures.

Movement of domestic poultry and other captive birds is not allowed, and all birds kept by people living within the control zone must be housed in enclosures which do not allow birds to fly in and out or have any contact with wild birds.

More information, including a map of the zones and details of the restrictions, can be found at www.gov.uk/guidance/avian-influenza-bird-flu-cases-and-disease-control-zones-in-england

The UK Health Security Agency has confirmed that the risk to public health is very low and the Food Standards Agency has said that bird flu poses a very low food safety risk for UK consumers. Properly cooked eggs and poultry are safe to eat.

We are working closely with DEFRA and the Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA) to help reduce the spread of the disease. Our Trading Standards officers will be visiting all properties within the control zone to identify bird owners, provide advice and ensure all flocks are identified for inspection by the APHA

Information signs are being put up on roads into and out of the 10km surveillance zone to inform drivers of the restrictions that are in place to reduce the spread of bird flu.

This is in addition to new national measures that are due to come into force across the UK on Monday 29 November, which will 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.

The new regulations mean that all poultry keepers across the country must:

  • House or net all poultry and captive birds to keep them separate from wild birds
  • Cleanse and disinfect clothing, footwear, equipment and vehicles before and after contact with poultry and captive birds – if practical, use disposable protective clothing
  • Reduce 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 use effective vermin control
  • Thoroughly cleanse and disinfect housing on a continuous basis
  • Keep fresh disinfectant at the right concentration at all farm and poultry housing entry and exit points
  • Minimise direct and indirect contact between poultry and captive birds and wild birds, including making sure all feed and water is not accessible to wild birds

 

These new housing measures will be kept under regular review as part of the government’s work to protect flocks.

In a joint statement, the UK’s four Chief Veterinary Officers said: “We have taken swift action to limit the spread of the disease and are now planning to introduce a legal requirement for all poultry and captive bird keepers to keep their birds housed or otherwise separate from wild birds.

“Whether you keep just a few birds or thousands, from Monday 29 November onwards 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.”

People are being warned not to touch or pick up any dead or sick birds they find. Anyone who finds dead swans, geese, ducks or other dead wild birds, such as gulls or birds of prey, should report them to the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77.

Bird keepers should report suspicion of disease in captive birds to the Animal and Plant Health Agency on 03000 200 301.

More information is available at www.gov.uk/guidance/avian-influenza-bird-flu

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