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Bird flu prevention zone across Great Britain

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Due to an increase in detected bird flu cases among wild birds and on commercial premises, there is now a legal requirement for all bird keepers in Great Britain to follow strict biosecurity measures to help protect their flocks.

Keepers with more than 500 birds will need to restrict access for non-essential people on their sites. Workers will need to change clothing and footwear before entering bird enclosures, and site vehicles will need to be cleaned and disinfected regularly to limit the risk of spreading the disease.

Backyard owners with small numbers of poultry including chickens, ducks and geese must also take steps to limit the risk of the disease spreading to their animals.

The Chief Veterinary Officers from England, Scotland and Wales declared an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) across Great Britain, which came into force on Monday 17 October, making it a requirement for keepers of birds to mitigate the risk of the disease spreading amongst poultry and captive birds.

They said:

“The introduction of an AIPZ means regardless of whether you keep a few birds or thousands, you are legally required to meet enhanced biosecurity requirements to protect your birds from this highly infectious disease.”

The UK Health Security Agency say that the risk to public health from the virus is very low, and the Food Standards Agency advises that avian influenzas pose a very low food safety risk for consumers.

“Properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat,” they say.

The public are advised not to touch or pick up any dead or visibly sick birds they find.

For wild birds, you should call the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77 if you find:

  • one or more dead bird of prey or owl
  • 3 or more dead gulls or wild waterfowl (swans, geese and ducks)
  • 5 or more dead birds of any species