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Suspected outbreak of avian disease in Northern Ireland
All bird keepers are urged to remain vigilant for any signs of disease in their flocks.

Testing for avian influenza and Newcastle disease is ongoing

Government officials are calling for vigilance from bird keepers following the suspected outbreak of a ‘notifiable avian disease’ in Northern Ireland (NI).

According to a statement from NI’s department of agriculture (DAERA), 'DAERA officials are currently investigating the suspected presence of a notifiable avian disease (NAD) in a broiler breeder flock in Co. Fermanagh.'

The statement added that 'a private veterinary practitioner contacted DAERA on January 2, 2020, expressing concerns related to the increased mortality of birds at the holding.
 DAERA immediately initiated a veterinary enquiry with a divisional veterinary officer visiting the holding in the evening of 2 January 2020.'

The Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute is currently testing samples taken from the farm. Testing for avian influenza and Newcastle disease is ongoing. 

DAERA said that officials have arranged a stakeholder meeting for Monday (6 January) where it will provide an update on the investigation and discuss the potential next steps.

'All bird keepers are urged to remain vigilant and if they suspect any signs of the disease in their flocks they must report it immediately to DAERA,' the statement continued.

'All poultry keepers, including backyard flock keepers and those keeping game birds and pet birds need to act now and maintain high levels of biosecurity at all times in order to reduce the risk of transmission of avian flu to their flocks.'

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Big Butterfly Count returns

News Story 1
 The world's biggest survey of butterflies is back for 2020!

Butterfly Conservation's Big Butterfly Count launches on Friday, 17 July and will run until Sunday 9 August. Members of the public can get involved by downloading the Big Butterfly Count App or recording results on a downloadable sheet available from

'It's a fantastic activity for people from three to 103 years and we'd encourage everyone to take 15 minutes in an appropriate outdoor space during sunny conditions to simply appreciate the nature around them and do their bit to help us understand butterfly populations,' said a Butterfly Conservation spokesperson. 

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News Shorts
New appointment at Dechra

Dechra Veterinary Products Ltd (Dechra) has announced a key appointment to support veterinary professionals across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Karen Hockley has been appointed as a telesales account manager and will provide the latest products, news and developments from Dechra. She joins the company from a large mixed practice in Northern Ireland where she was the branch manager.

Before that, Karen had worked for a multinational veterinary pharmaceutical company as a key account manager for Northern Ireland. She can be contacted at or 087 219 54 30.