Avian influenza (AI) was discovered 10 days ago in a flock of 100 pheasants being reared by a gun club near Clonakilty, in County Cork.

Tests by the Republic of Ireland?s Department of Agriculture revealed that the birds, which were consigned from the UK on 10 March, were not carrying the virulent H5N1 strain of bird flu. Further epidemiological investigations on the infected premises suggest that infection occurred after the birds arrived in Ireland.

The infected flock and a related flock at nearby Barryroe were slaughtered over the weekend of 1 April and biosecurity measures and a 1km exclusion zone implemented.

Ireland?s Department of Agriculture has declined to say where the birds were sourced, but the UK premises has been visited and no past or present evidence of the disease found. The AI outbreak is the first in Ireland in 14 years. It is thought to have transferred locally to gamebirds from contact with wild birds.

The rest of this article appears in the 11th April issue of Shooting Times.

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