Following confirmation of Low Pathogenic Avian Influenza (LPAI) H7 in a chicken farm in Hampshire, the Ulster Farmers’ Union is urging poultry farmers to be vigilant and adhere to the requirements being implemented by DARD.
UFU poultry chairman Roy Campbell said: “While there are no issues for either human health or food safety, this is a serious, notifiable disease in poultry which has led to a number of precautionary measures being put in place.
“It is important that all bird keepers are vigilant and practice a high standard of biosecurity, regardless of the size of their flock, to ensure that their sites remain as secure as possible from the potential introduction of this disease.
“The disease is notifiable so if you suspect that your birds have Avian Influenza you should contact your Private Veterinary Practice (PVP) or your local Divisional Veterinary Office immediately.
“I would also advise that poultry farmers begin to consider how they would implement emergency procedures, should the occasion arise, which would allow for all birds to be housed and separated up.”
Both DARD and the UFU are committed to doing all that they can to keep the disease out and are working closely with DEFRA, NFU and associates throughout Europe in order to remain fully up to date on any developments. For further information visit www.dardni.gov.uk.
The latest outbreak is the second incident of bird flu in just four months, but this time it has been identified as the H7 strain, which officials insisted was ‘much less severe’ than the H5N8 strain found at a Yorkshire duck farm in November.
All of the birds at the commercial chicken breeding farm, which has not been named, have been slaughtered as part of action to prevent any spread of the disease.