Welsh Government announces new measures to keep avian influenza at bay

Bird keepers are being reminded new compulsory biosecurity and housing measures to further protect their birds against avian influenza come into force tomorrow (Friday 2 December).

Last week, the Welsh Government announced new measures were being put in place as surveillance of avian influenza suggests a heightened risk of disease for Wales over the winter months.

These steps build extra resilience to the important measures introduced in October through the Wales Avian Influenza Prevention Zone.

From tomorrow, all bird keepers must keep their birds indoors or otherwise separated from wild birds. Keepers will also be required to complete and act upon a bespoke biosecurity review of the premises where birds are kept. This is to minimise the risk of virus entry in bird houses, which usually results in high mortality.

Public health advice remains that the risk to human health from the virus is very low and food standards bodies advise that avian influenzas pose a very low food safety risk for UK consumers.

Interim Deputy Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales, Gosia Siwonia said: “We have taken this action to ensure extra protection for birds as data suggests a westward spread of avian influenza to Wales in the coming months.

“Housing is effective in protecting birds against avian influenza, but only if accompanied by rigorous biosecurity to keep the virus out of bird houses. The biosecurity checklist will be key to this which is why we have made it compulsory for all keepers.

“We know this is a difficult time for bird keepers and their flocks, but we must continue to do all we can together to protect birds and these additional measures will build on the efforts which have already been made.”

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