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New avian flu prevention zone in Wales
chickens
The current prevention zone requiring birds to be housed indoors to prevent avian influenza, is due to expire on 28 February.
Cabinet secretary announces new measures
 
A new Welsh prevention zone will be introduced at the end of February, requiring bird keepers to continue housing poultry and other captive birds indoors, or using other measures to separate them from wild birds.

Keepers will also be required to complete a self assessment of biosecurity measures at their premises under the new prevention zone, which runs from 28 February until 30 April.

The current prevention zone requiring birds to be housed indoors to prevent avian influenza, is due to expire on 28 February.

Last week Defra announced new proposals to allow birds outside from 28 February, assuming certain conditions are met and reasonable precautions are taken to prevent avian influenza. Similarly, the Scottish government revealed its intention to allow poultry and captive birds outside from 28 February on the condition that biosecurity is enhanced.

Lesley Griffiths, Welsh cabinet secretary for environment and rural affairs, said: “The risk of infection from wild birds is unlikely to decrease in the coming weeks. The changes I am announcing today 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.”

Chief veterinary officer for Wales, Christianne Glossop, added: “Keepers of poultry and other captive birds must remain vigilant for signs of disease. 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.”

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Practices urged to support #vets4vultures

News Story 1
 Veterinary professionals are being urged to take part in the #vets4vultures online fundraising campaign. Vultures are persecuted throughout the world and numbers of some species have fallen by 99.9 per cent in recent years. Wildlife Vets International rescue and rehabilitate the birds of prey, as well as training local vets. However, the charity needs to raise £18,000 for its conservation plans to go ahead next year.

It has been selected for The Big Christmas Give Challenge, which goes live on 28 November. To help practices encourage clients to get involved, there is an online promotional pack containing resources for websites and social media platforms.

For more information emailinfo@wildlifevetsinternational  

News Shorts
Avian flu text alert service launched in Northern Ireland

A new text system to alert bird keepers to the threat of avian flu has been launched in Northern Ireland. The service will enable bird keepers to take action to protect their flock at the earliest opportunity.

Keepers who have already provided NI's Department of Agriculture with a valid mobile number have automatically been subscribed to the service and notified by text. Bird keepers who have not yet received a text should text ‘BIRDS’ to 67300 to register.