The Countryside Alliance is advising all members to remain vigilant regarding the signs of avian influenza after further outbreaks lead to a Prevention Zone being extended to cover whole of England and Wales.
As of 25 January 2018 there are no additional security measures in place in Northern Ireland and Scotland.
The implementation of a Prevention Zone means it is now a legal requirement for all bird keepers to follow strict biosecurity measures. It comes as 13 dead wild birds were confirmed to have the virus in Warwickshire, following 17 testing positive in Dorset last week.
Public Health England have advised the risk to public health remains very low and the Food Standards Agency have said that bird flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.
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 Countryside Alliance have released a statement on these changes: “Following the latest finding of bird flu in wild birds it is vital that vigilance remains high whilst the Prevention Zone is in place. Shooting has not been restricted but it important to keep up to date with the latest developments.
“If you suspect any type of bird flu you must report it immediately by calling the Defra Rural Services Helpline on 03000 200 301.”