Shooting organisations are in close touch with Defra and with each other over the handling of the confirmed case of Avian Influenza at a single, indoor duck farm near to Driffield in the East Riding of Yorkshire. The virus has been identified as an H5 variety, which is highly pathogenic in birds but it is not H5N1 and therefore poses very low risk to public health. Control measures already put in place by Defra are designed to ensure that human health and food safety are not compromised.
The control measures comprise a 3km radius Protection Zone, established around the confirmed case, together with a wider 10km radius Surveillance Zone. A Declaration Order mapping these areas and imposing legal requirements within them concerning bird movements, biosecurity and the recording of visitors can be read here:https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/375553/ai-pz-driffield-1411016.pdf
The shooting community will want to play its part in ensuring that this outbreak is controlled effectively and does not spread to cause more widespread problems. Shoots, game breeders and game dealers within the control zones must read the Order and abide by any measures contained in it that might affect their activities. The ban on releasing gamebirds is unlikely to be of concern at this time of year but biosecurity measures and the movement of birds, dead and alive, do need to comply with the Order. If in doubt, people within the control zones should consult the Animal Health Office at Leeds (Tel: 0300 303 1324).
Outside the control areas, shooters are asked to be vigilant in watching for and reporting to their local Animal Health Office anything untoward that they think may be indicative of the disease appearing elsewhere. A list of Animal Health Offices is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/animal-and-plant-health-agency/about/access-and-opening
In particular, Defra asks members of the public to report incidents where 5 or more wild birds are found dead in the same location and at the same time via the Defra helpline (Tel: 03459 33 55 77).
More Defra advice on what to look, how to report it, together with other general information about Avian Influenza and this outbreak can be found here:
The Countryside Alliance will continue to keep in close contact with Defra and with other organisations to ensure that this advice is updated as necessary whilst the disease and the control measures run their course. If shooting related changes are made to the Decleration Order we will be getting in touch with all members and shoot captains within the local area.