Our Trading Standards officers are carrying out further patrols to identify and advise bird owners, following confirmation of two new cases of bird flu at commercial poultry farms in the Barrow upon Soar area.
The new cases follow on from outbreaks at two premises near Barrow upon Soar in Charnwood two weeks ago.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has declared 3km and 10km Disease Control Zones surrounding the infected premises, which means it is a legal requirement for all bird keepers in the affected area to follow increased biosecurity measures to limit the risk of the disease spreading. To prevent further disease spread certain movements of poultry, other captive birds, eggs, poultry products or materials associated with their keeping, or mammals from/to premises where poultry or other captive birds are kept, are only permitted within the disease control zones when licenced.
Bird keepers can check whether they are in a disease control zone on the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) Interactive Map and find out further information on the cases and movement restrictions and licensing in the zones on GOV.UK
Officers from Leicestershire Trading Standards Service are now visiting all properties within the 3km Protection Zone around the sites of the latest cases to identify bird owners, provide advice and ensure all flocks are identified for potential inspection by the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA). Information signs are also being put up on roads into and out of the 10km Surveillance zones to inform drivers they are entering an area with restrictions.
Northern parts of Mowmacre Hill and Beaumont Leys in Leicester are also included in the new 10km surveillance zone. These join Ashton Green, which was already in a surveillance zone following the first confirmed case.
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 continuing to work closely with DEFRA and the Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA) to help reduce the spread of the disease. Bird keepers can help protect their birds by ensuring they follow the legal requirements in regard to housing and biosecurity measures.Councillor Deborah Taylor, Leicestershire County Council cabinet member for regulatory services
UK Chief Veterinary Officer Christine Middlemiss said: “We have taken swift action to limit the spread of the disease but we are continuing to see a growing number of bird flu cases on farms and in backyard flocks across the country. Whether you keep just a few birds or thousands you must take action now to protect your birds from this highly infectious disease.
“It is now a legal requirement to keep your birds indoors to keep them separate from wild birds which spread the disease. It is also vital that you maintain strong biosecurity by regularly checking and maintaining sheds and cleaning and disinfecting footwear to limit the risk of the disease spreading. Don’t walk the virus into your hens.”
National measures were initially put in place on 3 November requiring all bird keepers to follow enhanced biosecurity measures. This was then further enhanced with a housing order introduced on 29 November requiring all captive birds to be kept housed to reduce the risk of access with wild birds in order to limit the spread of and eradicate the disease.
This means 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 housing measures will be kept under regular review as part of the government’s work to protect flocks.
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 must report suspicion of bird flu in poultry and other captive birds to the Defra Rural Services Helpline on 03000 200 301. Failure to do so is an offence.
Flocks can be registered on the national Poultry Register This is a legal requirement if you have 50 or more poultry. Poultry includes chickens, ducks, turkeys, geese, pigeon (bred for meat), partridge, quail, guinea fowl and pheasants.