17th Apr, 2021

Restrictions lifted in avian flu efforts

Harry Leach 2nd Apr, 2021

HOUSING restrictions placed on poultry and captive birds in a bid to prevent the spread of avian flu were lifted on Wednesday (March 31).

The Animal and Plant Health Agency said it means poultry and other captive birds in Worcestershire and else where in the country will no longer need to be housed.

Restrictions came into place in November last year when the Government created the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) across Britain.

Simon Wilkes, head of Worcestershire Regulatory Services said: “The risk of avian influenza to both wild and kept birds has now been reduced to ‘medium’ by the Government.

“Enhanced biosecurity will still need to remain in force and bird gatherings are still prohibited, but it is good to be in a place where the restrictions can be reduced.

“High standards of biosecurity remain essential as infection may still be present in the environment.

“There is guidance on how to prepare for when free-range birds can be let outside again.

“I would encourage bird keepers to consult the avian influenza guidance for further information.”

Public Health England (PHE) advises that the risk to public health from the virus is ‘very low’.

The Food Standards Agency has also advised that avian influenzas pose a ‘very low food safety risk’ for UK consumers.

Properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat.

Members of the public and poultry keepers should continue to report dead wild birds to the Defra helpline by calling 03459 33 55 77.

And keepers should report suspicion of disease to APHA on 03000 200 301.

See www.gov.uk/guidance/avian-influenza-bird-flu for more information.

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