Following the announcement to declare a new Avian Influenza Prevention Zone the Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales is reminding bird keepers to be prepared ahead of its implementation next Tuesday.
The current Prevention Zone, which expires on 28 February, requires all keepers of poultry and other captive birds in Wales to keep their birds indoors or take all appropriate steps to keep them separate from wild birds, and to enhance biosecurity.
The new Avian Influenza Prevention Zone, which will be in place from 28 February to 30 April, requires all keepers in Wales to put in place mandatory biosecurity measures and complete a self assessment of biosecurity measures on their premises. Following this, keepers should then adopt one or more of the following: (i) house their birds, (ii) keep them totally separate from wild birds, by use of netting etc or (iii) allow controlled access to outside areas, subject to applying additional risk mitigation measures.
Dr Christianne Glossop said:
“The Cabinet Secretary’s decision to put in place a new Avian Influenza Prevention Zone, covering the whole of Wales, until 30 April is based on sound expert and industry advice.
“The risk of infection from wild birds will not decrease in the coming weeks. The changes to the new Prevention Zone are proportionate and place the onus on the keeper to select the best option for their circumstances to protect their birds. They must, however, ensure compliance with the additional risk mitigation measures.”
The Chief Veterinary Officer also spoke of the importance of keepers remaining vigilant for signs for the disease and to continue to practice the very highest levels of biosecurity:
“Avian Influenza is a notifiable disease, and any suspicion should be reported immediately to the Animal and Plant Health Agency. Keepers should practice the highest levels of biosecurity if they are to minimise the risk of infection.
“I continue to strongly encourage all poultry keepers, even those with fewer than 50 birds, to provide their details to the Poultry Register. This will ensure they can be contacted immediately, via email or text update, in an avian disease outbreak enabling them to protect their flock at the earliest opportunity.”
Dr Gavin Watkins, a senior veterinary officer within the Welsh Government has recorded a video message with information and advice on the requirements of the new Avian Influenza Prevention Zone.
Further guidance, contact details, latest developments and a copy of the new Declaration are available on the Welsh Government website.