New ‘lockdown’ restrictions for poultry come in to force on the 14 December 2020. The message to any domestic poultry keepers in Sandwell is that any birds usually kept outside must now be brought inside to protect them from avian influenza. The Chief Vets in England, Wales and Scotland are bringing in the new measures to help protect poultry and captive birds following a number of confirmed cases of avian influenza in the UK.
The disease has recently been found in turkeys on a farm in North Yorkshire – following cases in Kent, Cheshire, Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and Leicestershire. Sandwell Council Deputy Leader, Councillor Maria Crompton, said: “These new housing measures mean it will be a legal requirement for all bird keepers in Sandwell to keep their birds indoors and to follow strict biosecurity measures in order to limit the spread of and eradication of this disease.”
Public health advice is 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. It does not affect the consumption of poultry products, including eggs.
These housing measures build on the strengthened biosecurity regulations that were brought in as part of the Avian Influenza Protection Zone (AIPZ) on 11 November. The AIPZ means that all poultry and captive bird keepers need to take extra precautions, such as cleaning and disinfecting equipment, clothing and vehicles, limiting access to non-essential people on their sites, and workers changing clothing and footwear before entering bird enclosures.
The public and captive bird keepers are advised to be vigilant for any signs of disease in their birds and any wild birds, and seek prompt advice from their vet or report them to the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77.
The housing measures will stay in place until the government deems the risk has passed.
Domestic poultry keepers can find the latest Government advice here.