Avian Influenza: Compulsory Housing Order to be lifted
Some measures put in place to tackle the unexpected rise in Avian Influenza will be lifted on April 18, the Welsh Government has announced.
The complusory Housing Order – which saw birds kept indoors or separated from wild birds – was brought in as part of the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone in December.
While avian Influenza risk levels to poultry and captive birds have reduced, the risk of outbreaks remains and bird keepers are being encouraged to use the next week to prepare for release of their birds – particularly their outdoor areas, by cleaning and disinfecting equipment.
Some enhanced biosecurity requirements will stay in place, including a mandatory biosecurity self-assessment checklist to be undertaken by all poultry and captive bird keepers.
The Welsh Government said it has worked closely with partners across the UK and the industry to ensure proportionate biosecurity measures have been in place to help keep flocks safe.
Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales, Richard Irvine said: “I am pleased to be able to confirm the lifting of the compulsory housing order will take place in Wales on 18 April.
“I know this will be welcome news for bird keepers, who have housed their birds since December, and I want to thank them for all their efforts in keeping their flocks safe.
“What is essential now is that keepers, whether it be for a few birds or thousands, keep practicing rigorous hygiene and biosecurity measures to prevent outbreaks of avian influenza.
“This includes continuing to complete the mandatory biosecurity self-assessment checklist to help keepers identify what is needed to protect their birds.
“It’s also vital everyone remains vigilant for any signs of disease in their birds and wild birds, reports it and seeks advice immediately if they have any concerns.”
The Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ), which covers all of Wales, remains in place and requires keepers of poultry and other captive birds to take appropriate and practicable steps to prevent avian influenza, including:
- Keeping kept birds off land that is known to be, or at high risk of being, frequented by wild waterfowl, or contaminated by their droppings or feathers.
- Ensure the areas where birds are kept are unattractive to wild birds, especially waterfowl, for example, by netting ponds and surrounding areas and by removing wild bird food sources.
- Feed and water birds in enclosed areas to discourage wild birds.
- Minimise movement of people in and out of bird enclosures
- Clean and disinfect footwear, use foot dips before entering poultry enclosures, and keep areas where birds live clean and tidy.
- Ensure all bedding, equipment, clothing and anything else that enters the areas where birds are kept are free of direct or indirect contamination with HPAI, which is mainly spread through bird droppings.
- Keep domestic ducks and geese separate from other poultry.
Findings of dead wild birds should continue to be reported to the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77 and keepers should continue to promptly report suspicion of disease in their birds to APHA on 0300 303 8268.
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