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Avian flu measures lift across most of England
A new targeted Avian Influenza Protection Zone (AIPZ) has been introduced to parts of Cumbria, Lancashire and Merseyside.

New protection zone introduced to Cumbria and Lancashire

Measures put in place to reduce the spread of Avian Influenza will lift as planned across most of England today (15 May), the chief veterinary officer has confirmed. However, the measures will remain in place in targeted areas of Lancashire, Cumbria and Merseyside following evidence of heightened risk in these areas.

Defra’s latest risk assessment shows that the overall risk in England has not increased, but there is a heightened risk in parts of Cumbria, Lancashire and Merseyside. Recent cases in backyard flocks suggest that infection is still either circulating in wild birds or present in the environment.

A new targeted Avian Influenza Protection Zone (AIPZ) has been introduced to minimise the risk of disease spreading in this area. The AIPZ covers the districts of Barrow-in-Furness, South Lakeland, Lancaster, Blackpool, Wyre, Fylde, Preston, Sefton, West Lancashire, South Ribble and Chorley.

Poultry keepers in the AIPZ zone are required to observe existing disease prevention measures, such as minimising movement in and out of bird enclosures, cleaning footwear, keeping areas where birds live clean and tidy and feeding birds indoors.

Defra states that the ban on poultry gatherings in the localised AIPZ area will continue, and keepers from the area will not be able to take their poultry to gatherings elsewhere.

An AIPZ requiring keepers to observe strict disease prevention measures and a ban on poultry gatherings have been in place across England since December 2016.

From today (15 May 2017), keepers across most of England will no longer be required by law to follow these measures. They should continue to follow industry standard best practice on biosecurity, including minimising movement in and out of bird enclosures, cleaning footwear, keeping areas where birds live clean and tidy and feeding birds indoors.

Poultry gatherings can resume in all areas outside the remaining AIPZ, but poultry from the affected districts of Lancashire, Cumbria and Merseyside will not be able to attend.

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Classroom pets on the decline

News Story 1
 New research has found there are fewer pets in UK classrooms than in previous generations - despite 88 per cent of parents believing it significantly helps a child’s social skills and development.

More than half of the parents surveyed by Pets at Home (51 per cent) had a class pet as a child, compared to 46 per cent of children today.

The survey also found that non-traditional animals such as chickens, tadpoles, caterpillars and stick insects are becoming increasingly popular alternatives as classroom pets.  

News Shorts
BVA survey seeks views on surveillance

Vets who use veterinary scanning surveillance networks are being asked to complete a survey to help ensure the networks are fully able to protect animals in the UK.

‘Surveillance use, understanding and engagement across the veterinary profession’ is the first of a series of surveillance surveys that will also include localised surveys for Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Drafted by members of BVA’s Surveillance Working Group, it will run until Friday, 31 August 2017. Data collected will inform BVA’s policy position ensuring it is representative of disease surveillance across the UK.