Further avian flu measures introduced from today

Tougher measures have been introduced from today to prevent the spread of avian flu. Picture: Ian Burt

Tougher measures have been introduced from today to prevent the spread of avian flu. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Archant

New legal measures have been put in place from today (Monday) to prevent the spread of bird flu.

Bird keepers are now legally required to ensure their flocks are kept indoors, or separated from wild birds.

The measures were introduced on December 14 as part of further action to prevent the spread of avian influenza.

And anyone who all bird keepers must comply, whether they are a major poultry or egg producer or have a handful of chickens in the garden.

Cllr Steve Criswell, Chairman of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Communities and Partnership Committee, said: “We are a rural county, blessed with a wide range of commercial poultry premises.

“Their livelihoods depend on all bird keepers – large and small - doing their bit to prevent the spread of this disease.”

He added: “We appreciate that the new measures may pose challenges for many bird keepers and so we are supporting the Government in urging those affected to start preparing now, erecting bird housing where necessary, considering any potential welfare implications and discussing any concerns with their vet.

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“It’s really important for us to help protect bird keepers and the poultry industry, so we are asking everyone who looks after poultry to keep a close eye on them for any signs of disease and stay on top of their cleaning and working practices.”

This new course of action was announced by the government’s Animal and Plant Health Agency, and builds on previous national measures introduced last month.

Poultry keepers should report suspicion of disease to APHA on 03000 200 301.

Keepers and members of the public are urged to report dead waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks) or other dead wild birds, such as gulls or birds of prey, to the Defra helpline (03459 33 55 77). 

Cllr Criswell added: “I would also like to stress that the risk to public health is very low, and properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are still safe to eat according to the Food Standards Agency.”

For more information about bird flu, including best practice advice and details of signs and symptoms, please visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/avian-influenza-bird-flu#biosecurity-advice.