If you would like to discuss this matter with us further, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Once again may we thank you for your understanding and co-operation.
Avian influenza (bird flu) mainly affects birds. In the winter of 2016 cases among wild birds showed a sudden increase, with ten separate cases involved 29 wild birds testing positive in the south of England. By the end of December there were cases in Wales, Leicestershire and Somerset, largely among wild duck flocks.
An avian influenza prevention zone was declared across all of England on December 6th 2016, forcing owners to keep poultry and captive birds indoors, or take steps to separate them separate from wild birds, for their protection and safety. The Government’s chief veterinary officer, Nigel Gibbens, said the plans were the best option to control disease, protect birds’ welfare and minimise cross infection.
Where does it come from?
In short, we simply do not know. According to the government's International Disease Monitoring Team: "The origin of this virus and the involvement of wild birds are not yet understood."
Is there a risk to food?
It can also affect humans and other mammals, although Public Health England stress that “bird flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers”.
The latest news
Despite an initial twelve-week long control zone, avian flu has continued to strike in commercial breeding flocks across the UK and DEFRA and the period has been extended. The Prevention Zone rules changed on 13th April 2017 that meant keepers were not now required to house poultry or have total range netting in place in Higher Risk Areas of England. This was the latest update when we went to print on 20.4.17.
If you have any questions regarding animal welfare or biosecurity please contact DEFRA or visit their website for more details - the latest guidelines are available on www.gov.uk.