The avian influenza (bird flu) prevention zone – declared by the Scottish Government in response to the spread of the H5N8 strain of the virus in Europe – has been extended.
The AI Prevention Zone was first declared from 6 December 2016, and was renewed on 4 January 2017 to last until 28 February. The current zone, which continues to have effect, requires all poultry and captive bird keepers to apply heightened biosecurity including keeping their birds indoors if possible, or otherwise separated from wild birds.
However, from 28 February 2017, the requirements of the zone will change, meaning that keepers may let their birds out provided that they have enhanced biosecurity measures in place. This further zone will now remain in force until at least the end of April 2017.
The zone covers the whole of Scotland and it applies to all poultry and captive birds in the country.
Since the Zone was first declared the risk level for Avian Influenza incursions into the UK has been raised to ‘low to medium’ for poultry or captive birds, and ‘high’ for wild birds. Eight cases of H5N8 have been confirmed in domestic birds in England and Wales, as well as wild birds across the UK including a peregrine falcon found in Dumfries and Galloway in December 2016.
Since the initial prevention zone was announced, there have now been confirmed cases of the virus in England, Wales and Scotland, making this a biosecurity risk. As well as keeping poultry isolated from wild birds, all keepers should take biosecurity precautions, such as disinfecting footwear, equipment and clothing after coming into contact with birds.
The council’s environmental health team is aware that there are a large numbers of people in Argyll and Bute who keep small numbers of poultry, however, anyone with less than 50 birds is not required to register.
Councillor David Kinniburgh, Policy Lead for Regulatory Services, said: “We would ask that all keepers of poultry and wild birds follow the current advice from the Scottish Government, which is available at: www.gov.scot/avianinfluenza
“We would also ask members of the public to notify us of any poultry which is not being kept under cover. You can contact our animal health team on 01546 60 5519 or email AnimalHealth@argyll-bute.gov.uk ”
Further information is available on the council website at: https://www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/planning-and-environment/animal-health-and-welfare
Avian influenza is an animal health disease affecting poultry. The risk comes from farmed or domestic poultry coming into contact with wild birds.
The advice from Food Standards Scotland is that bird flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers: http://www.foodstandards.gov.scot/news/bird-flu-avian-influenza-advice-food-standards-scotland
Bird keepers in Scotland are reminded of the importance of excellent biosecurity and anyone who suspects an animal may be affected by a notifiable disease must report it to their local Animal Plant & Health Agency office. Contact details can be found at www.defra.gov.uk/ahvla-en/about-us/contact-us/field-services/