Bird Flu: Wales not following England-wide legal requirement to keep birds indoors
Wales will not follow England’s mandatory legal requirement for birdkeepers to house the creatures indoors amid the UK’s largest-ever outbreak of avian influenza.
The mandatory housing measures for all poultry and captive birds are to be introduced across England from midnight on November 7.
There have been more than 200 cases of avian influenza – also known as bird flu – confirmed in the UK since late October 2021.
The disease has been detected at more than 70 premises since the beginning of October, as well as multiple reports in wild birds.
A Welsh Government spokesman said mandatory housing of poultry would not be introduced in Wales at this stage.
The spokesman said: “We will continue to monitor the situation in Wales. All keepers must keep their birds safe by rigorously applying the biosecurity measures in the Wales avian influenza prevention zone, and be vigilant for signs of the disease.”
A second case of bird flu was recently confirmed on Anglesey.
An interactive map of avian influenza disease control zones currently in place across GB can be found here.
The UK health agencies advise that the risk to public health from the virus is very low and the UK food standards agencies advise that avian influenza poses a very low food safety risk for UK consumers.
However, responsibilities of people who keep birds include:
- Staying vigilant for signs of the disease such as increased mortality, respiratory distress and drops in food or water intake, or egg production.
- Consulting a veterinary surgeon in the first instance if your birds are unwell.
- If they suspect that avian influenza could be causing illness in birds, they must, by law, report this to the Animal and Plant Health Agency. This will trigger a disease investigation by APHA vets.
They must apply strict biosecurity measures to prevent any materials, equipment, vehicles, clothing, feed or bedding that could have been contaminated from wild birds coming onto your premises.
Full details and a checklist are available here.
Outbreaks of avian influenza continue to occur at “an unprecedented scale”, an environment minister has said.
Making a statement in the Commons on the Government’s response to the current avian influenza outbreaks, Mark Spencer said: “Outbreaks of avian influenza in both kept and wild birds continue to occur at an unprecedented scale, with cases continuing to be confirmed into year two of the outbreak for the first time.
“October has seen a massive escalation in the number of cases confirmed with 91 cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza confirmed in poultry and captive birds.
“82 cases in England, four cases in Scotland, four cases in Wales and one case in Northern Ireland. This compares to a total of 158 cases in the year between October ’21 and 30 September ’22, and the 26 cases in winter 2020 to 2021.”
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.