Queen’s swans put down after bird flu outbreak

Queen’s swans put down after bird flu outbreak

Vets have been forced to put down 26 of the Queen’s swans on the River Thames at Windsor after an outbreak of avian influenza in the flock killed at least six birds .

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) called in a vet from the Swan Lifeline Rescue centre to humanely cull the birds.

The Queen owns all unmarked mute swans in England and Wales, carrying the official title is Seigneur of the Swans.

There is currently a 3km bird flu control zone in place on the River Thames around Eton and Windsor, banning members of the public from feeding birds.

The move comes after several cases were confirmed confirmed in birds across the country, though the K Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has said that avian influenza is primarily a disease of birds and the risk to the general public is very low.

On January 15 Birmingham City Council confirmed avian flu had been found in geese in some city parks, ehile two outbreaks of avian flu were also confirmed in Cheshire.

An Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) was put in place across Great Britain on 3 November last year and the same measure was introduced in Northern Ireland the Republic of Ireland on 17 November.

Just last week Belfast Zoo  introduced new measures to prevent the spread of bird flu among its flocks, including moving some species into enclosed areas.

The zoo said its free-roaming bird species had been moved into enclosed habitats but that all birds could still be viewed by visitors

It added that “additional precautions” had been taken to stop wild bird entering into any of its enclosures.

Dublin Zoo and Fota Wildlife Park in Cork have moved birds indoors.

And earlier in January, UK officials confirmed that a person living in the south-west of England had caught bird flu – the first human case in the UK.