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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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Endangered turtle born at London Zoo

News Story 1
 An endangered spiny hill turtle has become the first of its kind to hatch at ZSL London Zoo - just in time for World Turtle Day (23 May).

Zookeepers filmed the moment the turtle came out of its shell on a time lapse camera, after keeping a watchful eye on the egg during its 136 day incubation period.

The turtle weighed a tiny 33g at birth and measured just 61mm, although it will eventually grow to around 27cm in size. 

News Shorts
Melissa Donald elected president of BVA Scottish Branch

RCVS Council member Melissa Donald has been elected for a two-year term as president of BVA’s Scottish Branch. She said she was “honoured” to be elected and hopes to provide a strong voice for veterinary surgeons, particularly at a national level. One of her first tasks will be to give evidence to the Scottish government on tail shortening of dogs, before parliament votes on whether to change the current legislation.

Melissa graduated from Glasgow veterinary school and worked as a production animal vet at Iowa State University, USA, for three years, before returning to Ayrshire to work in mixed practice. She then spent 25 years developing a small animal practice with her husband and has been involved with the BVA for many years. Recently, she took the decision to step back from clinical practice and currently runs a smallholding in the Ayrshire Hills.