Bird Flu Found In Norfolk
The National Gamekeepers’ Organisation is informing its members that Defra has confirmed H5N8 avian flu in a small flock of chickens and geese at a premises near Diss in south Norfolk. A 3 km Protection Zone and a 10 km Surveillance Zone have been put in place around the infected premises to limit the risk of the disease spreading. For more details click here and here (a map of the Protection and Surveillance Zones can be seen on page 14 of this link).
Those with captive birds, including gamebirds, within the 3 km and 10 km zones should note that restrictions include a requirement to house or to otherwise separate all kept birds from wild birds. The restrictions also require increased record keeping for visitors and bird movements. The full measures, as set out in the Order, can be read here.
Please note: no gamebird releasing is allowed within the 3 km and 10 km zones and any movement of birds into or out of the zones requires a licence from a Government veterinary inspector.
A Defra interactive map is also available and kept up to date so you can check whether the restrictions affect you.
A spokesman for the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation said: “All those with captive birds, including gamekeepers, within the 10 km ring of the latest bird flu outbreak in Norfolk must read and fully abide by their legal obligations. These include no gamebird releasing and the need to get a licence before moving birds into or out of the Surveillance and Protection Zones. Any failure to do so is an offence under the Animal Health Act 1981.”
“We ask keepers elsewhere in England and Wales to ensure that their biosecurity arrangements are also inline with appropriate best practice regimes. Please keep checking for updates on the NGO website and on our social media.”
Shooting is not restricted where 3 km Protection and 10 km Surveillance Zones are in force. The NGO would however urge shooting interests in the vicinity of bird flu outbreaks to act appropriately and consider fully the implications of their actions at this time.
Members will be aware that the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone that was in force across most of England was lifted on 15 May and was replaced on the same day by a new Prevention Zone that applies only to certain defined areas of Lancashire, Cumbria and Merseyside. Click here for details.
Public Health England advises that the risk to public health from the virus is very low and the Food Standards Agency is clear that bird flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.
Other important information
The NGO reminds its members and others in the shooting community that government came together with countryside and shooting organisations on 3 March and issued important (revised) information about bird flu to all those specifically involved with gamebirds. For the background to that announcement and for the link leading to the advice, please click here.
The NGO continues to ask its members to be vigilant and to report any dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks) or gulls or five or more dead wild birds of other species, when encountered in the same location in unusual circumstances, to the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77. Details of how to spot the symptoms of bird flu can be found here.
Official guidance and advice on all relevant aspects of avian influenza – from implementing biosecurity measures to spotting symptoms and how to go about reporting suspected cases – are available in a directory on the Defra website. It can be viewed by clicking here.