Avian flu: Birds in Wales to be kept indoors from 2 December




  • In Science
  • 2022-11-25 21:06:01Z
  • By BBC
Chicken
Chicken  

Birds in Wales will have to be kept indoors or separated from wild birds from 2 December.

The Welsh government announced the new measures to tackle an expected rise in avian influenza.

Interim Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales, Dr Gavin Watkins said bird keepers should prepare for the changes by ensuring bird housing is suitable.

These new measures are in addition to those in the Wales Avian Influenza Prevention Zone.

There will also be extra biosecurity measures in place for poultry and captive birds.

The announcement comes as the UK government decided all kept birds and poultry in Northern Ireland must stay indoors from midday, on 28 November to combat the spread of avian flu. Similar rules were introduced in England from November 7.

Dr Watkins said the steps were being taken now to get ahead of a possible increased level of avian influenza virus in the environment, and build extra resilience to the important measures introduced in October.

From 2 December, it will be a legal requirement for all bird keepers to keep their birds indoors, or otherwise separate from wild birds, and keepers must also complete and act upon a bespoke biosecurity review of the premises where birds are kept.

'Unprecedented invasion'

Dr Watkins said: "The latest data suggests a westward spread of avian influenza to Wales in the coming months, and increased risk of birds being infected outside, through increased viral survival times and a possible further spread in the range of wild birds carrying the virus.

"Having assessed the evidence, we are taking further preventative action to help protect poultry and kept birds, the biosecurity and housing measures we are introducing in Wales will provide additional protection for birds and resilience for our poultry sector, and we will continue to keep the situation under constant review.

He thanked all bird keepers for the steps they had taken to keep birds safe and said the measures announced would build on that.

There has been an unprecedented invasion of avian influenza into Great Britain and Europe in 2022.

Public health advice remains that the risk to human health from the virus is very low.

Food standards bodies advise that avian influenzas pose a very low food safety risk for UK consumers.

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