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European avian influenza outbreak prompts precautionary bird measures in UK

Outbreaks of avian influenza (H5N8) in several countries across Europe have resulted in the UK Government and the Governments of Wales and Scotland putting in place precautionary measures which demand keepers of captive birds house their birds indoors where practicable – or to keep them separate from wild birds. No cases of H5N8 have been found in the UK.

The orders will run for 30 days from 6 December 2016 until 6 January 2017. The declared Prevention Zones cover the whole of England, Wales and Scotland.

Pigeon shooting: The flightline factor

Poultry keepers must now house their flocks indoors where practicable, or keep them separate from wild birds.

In the case of captive gamebirds – as well as geese and other captive birds where housing is recognised by the authorities as being less practicable – steps must be taken to keep these birds separate from wild birds and to ensure heightened biosecurity measures are in place.

Full information including the details of practical biosecurity measures can be found by clicking here

Statements from the Welsh Government on bird flu can be found by clicking here and from the Scottish Government by clicking here 

A spokesman for the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation said: “It is important to emphasise that no case of H5N8 has been discovered in the UK and the orders are a precautionary measure to prevent infection by wild birds. Relatively few gamekeepers will have captive gamebirds at this time of year, but those that do are required by law to take practical steps to stop wild birds mixing with captive game, and to place extra emphasis on safeguarding biosecurity. The NGO will continue to monitor the situation on behalf of its members and will provide further updates as necessary.”