Migratory season increasing Avian Influenza risk, says UFU
The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) is warning poultry keepers to tighten their biosecurity as the migratory season increases the risk of infection.
The comments come following the declaration of an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) across Great Britain (GB). The government has confirmed two cases of avian influenza H5N1 in England and one case of avian influenza in Wales.
UFU poultry chair Ronnie Wells said: “Several cases of Avian Influenza have already been detected in the British Isles because of the migratory season. It’s vital that in response to this, all poultry keepers across Northern Ireland, whether commercial or backyard, review and heighten their biosecurity where necessary to protect their farm business and the entire sector from infection.
“Everyone needs to be vigilant of the increasing risk that comes at this time of year, with outbreaks already recorded in the Republic of Ireland and Europe. Only the best biosecurity will protect NI flocks throughout the coming weeks and months.
“All poultry keepers should refer to DAERA’s biosecurity self-assessment checklist to ensure they have the essential biosecurity measures in place and are maintaining them regularly – this is critical. Everyone now has the opportunity to protect their flock and income and they must do so urgently.”
Bird keepers are to remain vigilant and to keep a close eye on flocks for AI symptoms. Any suspicion of disease or increased mortality should be reported to their vet or local divisional veterinary office immediately.
All birds in Northern Ireland should also be registered with DAERA, the only exception to registration is pet birds that live inside the home.
Please use the following link to access DAERA’s biosecurity checklist – Biosecurity self assessment tool.