Avian Influenza Prevention Zone still in place

HIRES_Page_07_Image_0001IF you keep poultry you need to be aware that an extension of the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone, covering the whole of Wales, until at least February 28 2017 has been declared by the Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths. The Declaration of an Extension of the Prevention Zone follows a case of Avian Influenza in a backyard flock in Pontyberem, Carmarthenshire in December 2016. This was the same strain of the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) (H5N8) virus found in a wild duck in Llanelli on December 22, a turkey farm in Lincolnshire on December 16 and wild, captive and domestic birds in many European countries, the Middle East and North Africa. On January 6 2017, a case of avian influenza H5N8 was also confirmed in a backyard flock of chickens and ducks in Settle, near Skipton. A Protection Zone of 3km and a Surveillance Zone of 10km have been put in place around the infected premises and specific restrictions are in place. The Prevention Zone, originally introduced on December 6 2016, enhanced biosecurity measures including a requirement for all keepers of poultry and other captive birds to keep their birds indoors, or take appropriate steps to keep them separate from wild birds. Similar arrangements were also announced in England and Scotland on the same day and Northern Ireland on December 23 2016. The extension of the Prevention Zone does not affect the ability of poultry keepers to market their products as free range. Under EU legislation, poultry keepers are able to maintain their free range‐status for a period of 12 weeks if Government issues such a declaration. If you are concerned about the health of your birds you should seek advice from your veterinary surgeon. If you suspect that your birds are showing signs of the disease you should immediately report it to your local Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) office. Poultry keepers are encouraged to provide details of their flocks to the Poultry Register. This will ensure they can be contacted immediately in the event of an avian disease outbreak so that they can take action to protect their flock at the earliest opportunity. Members of the public are encouraged to report dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks), or other dead wild birds such as gulls or birds of prey, to the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77. For further information visit the Welsh Government website: www.gov.wales

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