From 28 February, a new Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) has come into force that takes a more targeted approach to controlling the disease. All poultry keepers across England must continue to observe strict biosecurity measures and housing will not be mandatory over the whole country. However keepers in some areas of England will still be required to house or net their birds. This is because based on clear scientific evidence, the APHA consider the risk from wild birds is still too high in these Higher Risk Areas (HRAs) to rely on biosecurity measures alone.
In other parts of England and in Scotland and Wales, a ‘Prevention Zone’ will continue to operate where poultry owners, who wish to turn their birds out, must prepare the ranges to ensure there is as little faecal contamination of the environment from wild birds as possible and make sure that ponds and other large water bodies are netted (where possible) or fenced to prevent indirect contact between wild birds and poultry.
As a result of the increase in positive findings in wild birds in Europe, the APHA ask that the public use the Defra helpline (Tel: 03459 33 55 77) to report findings of dead wild birds. In particular, any wild ducks, wild geese, swans, gulls or birds of prey and where more than five birds of any species are found dead in the same location.
The APHA would like to remind all poultry keepers that the clinical signs of this virus are variable and will depend on the species, but any suspicion of production drop, increased mortality, sick and depressed birds with a temperature and neurological signs should be initially discussed with their private veterinarian.
For the latest situation on avian influenza and actions to reduce the risks, please visit the GOV.UK website for the latest situation.
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Please be aware if any person fails to comply with a requirement of this Order or of a declaration, licence, notice or designation under it, an inspector may take the steps he considers necessary to ensure the requirement is met at the expense of that person. An inspector can direct any person to take or refrain from specified action in respect of any place, animal, bird, vehicle, or other thing; and seize and detain any thing (Article 83 of AOMO).
Failure to comply with the Declaration could be an offence under section 72 or 73 of the Animal Health Act 1981 (AHA). A person guilty of an offence is liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to an unlimited fine or to both (section 75 of AHA).
DEFRA guidance for keepers on how to comply with the Prevention Zone measures and reduce the risk to your birds of Avian Influenza.