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New measures in force after avian influenza case confirmed near Melton

Legal requirements in force for bird owners

several chickens in grass field
Chickens

A temporary control zone has come into force after a case of avian influenza was confirmed at a site near Melton Mowbray - this means it is a legal requirement for all bird keepers in the affected area to follow increased measures.

The restriction has been declared by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) in an attempt to reduce the risk of transmission of avian influenza in the bird population.

The zone covers a 10km radius of the location where the infected bird was identified.

Under the new restrictions, movement of domestic poultry and other captive birds is not allowed. It also means that all birds kept by people living within the zone must be housed in enclosures which don't allow them to fly in and out or have any contact with wild birds.

Public Health England 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.

We are working closely with DEFRA and to help reduce the spread of the disease, our Trading Standards officers will be visiting properties within the control zone in order to identify anyone who has birds.

Earlier this month, an avian influenza prevention zone was declared across the whole of England to mitigate the risk of the disease spreading, which means that all bird keepers across the country are subject to some form of restrictions.

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.

Bird keepers and members of the public should report any dead wild birds to the DEFRA helpline on 03459 33 55 77 and keepers should report suspicion of disease to Animal and Plant Health Agency on 03000 200 301. Keepers should familiarise themselves with our avian flu advice.

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