NI flock keepers warned over avian influenza
All poultry and pet bird keepers have been urged to act now and reduce the risk posed by avian influenza this winter.
Agriculture Minister, Edwin Poots and NI’s Chief Vet, Robert Huey, issued the warning this week after confirmation of a case of avian influenza H5N8 in Cheshire and another of low pathogenic avaian influenza (LPAI H5N2) in Kent.
Acknowledging that NI is currently free of the disease, the Minister said that the English cases were a ‘timely reminder’ of the constant threat:
‘As we are now entering the high risk period for the disease due to the winter wild bird migrating season, it is vitally important that all keepers of poultry, including game birds and pet birds, take action now to carefully consider and improve biosecurity to reduce the risk of transmission of disease to their flocks,’ he added.
Mr Poots also pointed out that if the disease were to be found in a flock, it would have devastating consequences for the industry and international trade,
Agreeing with the Minister, Mr Huey urged flock-keepers to adopt good biosecurity measures and remain alert for any signs of the disease.
If anyone suspects that the disease is present in a flock, they should call their DAERA district office immediately on 0300 200 7840. Bird flu is notifiable and any failure to do so is a criminal offence.
A leaflet containing advice on avian influenza and biosecurity measures can be downloaded from daera-ni.gov.uk