Pets’ Corner has moved its birds indoors as a precaution following an order issued to the UK on Wednesday (7 December 2016) by the Department for Environment, Foods and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).
The notice states that all poultry (and other captive birds) must be kept indoors for a period of 30 days in England to reduce the risk of contracting avian flu.
The Government’s Chief Veterinary Officer, Nigel Gibbens, has declared a Prevention Zone introducing enhanced biosecurity requirements for poultry and captive birds, helping protect them from a strain of the disease that is circulating in mainland Europe. The zone covers England and will remain in place for 30 days.
Keepers of poultry and other captive birds are now required to keep their birds indoors, or take appropriate steps to keep them separate from wild birds. To comply with this order and minimise the risk of birds and poultry contracting avian flu at Pets’ Corner, the Council-owned facility has moved its birds inside into temporary accommodation.
Outbreaks of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (H5N8) have been confirmed in poultry and wild birds in several countries across Europe. No cases of H5N8 have been found in the UK however and the order is a precautionary measure to help prevent potential infection from wild birds.
Public Health England (PHE) advises that the threat to human health remains very low.
Nigel Gibbens said:
“While no cases of H5N8 avian flu have been found in the UK, and PHE advises the public health threat is low, we are closely monitoring the situation across Europe and have scaled up surveillance in response to the heightened risk.
“As a precaution, and to allow time for poultry and captive bird keepers to put in place appropriate biosecurity measures, we have declared a 30-day Prevention Zone to reduce the risk of infection from wild birds.
“Even when birds are housed a risk of infection remains so this must be coupled with good biosecurity – for example disinfecting clothing and equipment, reducing poultry movement and minimising contact between poultry and wild birds.”
Councillor Danny Purton, Portfolio Holder for Environment, said:
“Whilst this is a precautionary measure as there have, so far, been no documented cases of this particular strain of Avian Flu found in the UK, we are taking this seriously and moved all birds living at the Council-owned Pets’ Corner indoors to mitigate the risk.
“I would also urge all residents who keep any birds outdoors themselves to move them inside.
“The Council will of course monitor the advice given by government for any developments, and take action as necessary.”
Poultry 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 if they have any concerns. They can help prevent avian flu by maintaining good biosecurity on their premises, including:
- Cleansing and disinfecting clothing, footwear, equipment and vehicles before and after contact with poultry – if practical, use disposable protective clothing.
- Reducing the movement of people, vehicles or equipment to and from areas where poultry are kept to minimise contamination from manure, slurry and other products and using effective vermin control.
- Thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting housing at the end of a production cycle.
- Keeping fresh disinfectant at the right concentration at all points where people should use it, such as farm entrances and before entering poultry housing or enclosures.
- Minimising direct and indirect contact between poultry and wild birds, including making sure all feed and water is not accessible to wild birds.
Further information can be found on the Government’s website at:https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-measures-to-protect-poultry-against-avian-flu