1. Further to the cases in Dorset last week, Defra have just announced that dead waterfowl have been reported at a second location – a reservoir in Warwickshire;
2. 13 birds from the site have been confirmed with High Path AI, H5N6;
3. Testing of the birds is ongoing, however, it is expected that this will be the same H5N6 strain of the virus which has been circulating in wild birds across Europe in recent months i.e the European strain;
4. As a result Defra have extended the current AI Prevention Zone (AIPZ) (currently covering parts of Dorset) to the whole of England;
5. This means it will be a legal requirement for all poultry keepers to follow strict biosecurity measures;
6. This is not a Housing Order;
7. The decision to extend the AIPZ to the whole of England was taken on a precautionary basis and on the basis that, as these latest results show, the disease is not isolated to a single site;
8. Please see attached the Declaration – all poultry keepers (including backyard flock keepers) will have to comply with the list of requirements contained in Schedule 1 and if they have more than 500 the list of requirements contained in Schedule 2. These additional measures were originally agreed in February 2017 and arguably should be in place all of the time anyway.
Schedule 1 (examples)
i. precautions are taken to avoid the transfer of virus contamination between premises, including cleansing and disinfection of equipment, vehicles and footwear. Where there are more than 50 poultry or other captive birds, place foot dip containing Defra-approved poultry disinfectant at strategic points including at the entry and exit of all houses or outdoor areas where birds are kept, and footwear must be cleaned using the dips on entry and exit or alternatively footwear should be changed when moving between bird and non-bird areas;
ii. the movement of people, vehicles or equipment to and from the part of the premises where poultry are kept is reduced to only essential movements for looking after their welfare, collecting eggs and feeding;
iii. access to open or standing water is restricted by fencing off and netting ponds, standing water, or waterlogged land to prevent access by poultry or other captive birds;
iv. there is no direct contact with poultry or other captive birds on other neighbouring premises;
v. measures are taken to discourage wild birds, in particular gulls and wild waterfowl, from entering the fenced outdoor areas;
vi. there is regular cleaning and disinfecting of all concrete walkways, paths and similar surfaces to which poultry or other captive birds or wild birds have access;
Schedule 2 of the Declaration states that keepers of more than 500 poultry must establish three zones or parts on farm:
(a) a poultry (live-bird) zone;
(b) a private (ancillary use) zone; and
(c) a restricted access (bio-secure barrier) zone.
Schedule 2 lists out the biosecurity requirements that must apply to each zone.
Poultry (Live-bird) zone
i. access is restricted to essential authorised personnel only;
ii. keepers must operate effective barrier hygiene, including changing clothing and footwear, before entering and on exit from the live-bird part;
iii. only essential equipment and vehicles are permitted to enter the live-bird part;
iv. the exterior of any vehicles (particularly wheels and wheel arches) and equipment which enter or leave the live-bird part of the premises must be cleansed and disinfected on both entry and exit; and
v. thorough cleansing and disinfecting (based on industry best practice) of housing and equipment must be undertaken at the end of a production cycle and before new birds are introduced; and
vi. records must be kept of vehicles and personnel entering and leaving the live-bird part.
Private (Ancillary use) zone
i. access is limited to essential personnel only, and full biosecurity practices should be adopted on entry and exit to the part of the premises;
ii. this part of the premises should be fully separated from the live-bird part with a clear demarcation;
iii. waste and fallen stock must be held in appropriately biosecure facilities in this part of the premises with clear separation between both the live-bird part and the restricted access bio-secure barrier part; and
iv. the exterior of any vehicles (focussing on wheels and wheel arches) which enters or leaves the part must be cleansed and disinfected on both entry and exit.
Restricted access (bio-secure barrier) zone
i.access by the public should be controlled and only essential workers or contractors should enter this bio-secure barrier part; and
ii.non-essential vehicles must not enter this bio-secure barrier part.
9. The AIPZ will be in place until further notice and will be kept under regular review by Defra;
10. In Dorset, the number of confirmed infected birds has increased to 31;
11. Trade should not be affected following the findings in wild birds, according to the rules of the World Animal Health Organisation (OIE);
12. The risk to poultry and other captive birds depends, amongst other things, on the level of biosecurity on the premises and the likely contact between kept birds and wild birds, which is why it is now mandatory that all keepers ensure they practice the highest standards of biosecurity;
13. There are no plans to carry out any culls or put movement restrictions in place;
14. There are currently no findings of bird flu in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland and the prevention zone is for England only;
15. Public Health England have advised the risk to public health remains very low
16. The Food Standards Agency has said the disease poses no food safety risk for UK consumers. Properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat;
17. Poultry keepers and members of the public should report dead wild birds to the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77 and keepers should report suspicion of disease to APHA on 03000 200 301. Further avian influenza advice, including how to spot the disease, is available at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/avian-influenza-bird-flu
Chief Veterinary Officer Nigel Gibbens said:
“Following the latest finding of bird flu in wild birds in Warwickshire, we are extending our action to help prevent the virus spreading to poultry and other domestic birds.
“Whether you keep just a few birds or thousands, you are now legally required to meet enhanced biosecurity requirements and this is in your interests to do, to protect your birds from this highly infectious virus.”
Any questions please ask.
NFU Chief Poultry Adviser
Telephone: 07966 781003