Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards Service is reminding all keepers of poultry that they are legally required to take measures to reduce the risk of bird flu spreading.
Last week 17 wild birds tested positive in Dorset and a total of 31 infected birds have now been identified at that site. A further 13 dead wild birds were confirmed to have the virus in Warwickshire and 19 wild waterfowl and Gulls at a site in Hertfordshire.
Defra has declared a bird flu prevention zone across England. The enactment of the prevention zone means bird keepers across the country must do the following:
• Ensure the areas where birds are kept are unattractive to wild birds, for example by netting ponds, and by removing wild bird food sources;
• Feed and water your birds in enclosed areas to discourage wild birds;
• Minimise movement in and out of bird enclosures;
• Clean and disinfect footwear and keep areas where birds live clean and tidy;
• Reduce any existing contamination by cleansing and disinfecting concrete areas, and fencing off wet or boggy areas.
Matthew Fogaty, Lead Officer for Animal Health and Welfare at Devon, Somerset & Torbay Trading Standards Service said:
“Whether you keep just a few birds or thousands, poultry keepers are now legally required to meet the enhanced biosecurity procedures to protect their birds from this highly infectious virus. We urge keepers to be vigilant and adhere to the new rules.
“We are responsible for enforcement of these legal requirements and our officers are working hard to help and advise poultry keepers. We recommend all poultry keepers sign up to the Defra poultry register and the disease alert service where they will receive regular text updates.”
The prevention zone will be in place until further notice and will be kept under regular review to monitor the threat of bird flu.
Poultry keepers and members of the public should report dead wild birds to the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77 and keepers should report suspicion of disease to Animal Plant Health Agency on 03000 200 301.
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