UFU urges vigilance on Avian influenza

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The Ulster Farmers’ Union is urging poultry farmers to be vigilant in light of continued outbreaks of Avian influenza on continental Europe, mainly in Italy, Bulgaria and Germany. It follows a briefing with DAERA and the poultry sector on the current disease situation.

UFU poultry vice chairman Ronnie Wells says: “We strongly recommend that all poultry keepers, including backyard keepers, review their biosecurity measures and business continuity plans now, as the risk level may well increase in the coming weeks. Producers should familiarise themselves with DAERA’s guidance on good biosecurity and if you have any suspicion of disease within your flock you should contact your vet or the local DVO immediately.”

In Northern Ireland, the current risk level of an incursion in wild birds and poultry remains low. However, this risk level may well increase in the coming weeks as the winter migratory period begins. The best tool farmers have available to mitigate this risk is good bio security on farms.

“I would encourage producers to practise good farm hygiene and keep birds’ food and water in enclosed areas separate from wild birds wherever possible. Poultry keepers can also sign up to the Avian influenza text alert service to receive immediate notifications of a disease outbreak. To subscribe they need to text BIRDS to 67300,” says Ronnie Wells.

Both the UFU and DAERA are committed to doing all that is necessary to keep the disease out of Northern Ireland.

For further information visit https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/articles/avian-influenza-ai