The Ulster Farmers’ Union wishes to remind members of the 30 day Avian Influenza Prevention Zone and suspension of poultry gatherings in Northern Ireland, in light of the heightened risk of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza H5N8 in the UK and Republic of Ireland.
The Prevention Zone for NI has been in place from 12.00pm on 23rd December 2016 and will last for 30 days. There is also a temporary suspension of gatherings of some species of birds. Keepers of poultry and other captive birds are now required to keep their birds indoors, or take appropriate steps to keep them separate from wild birds.
“Whether your poultry flock is large or small, we urge you to ensure that all biosecurity measures are in place and are as robust as possible to protect the health of your flock,” said Poultry Chairman, Tom Forgrave.
“Given the spread of the disease in wild birds, flock owners must continue to comply with the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone, put in place on 23 December, which requires that all poultry and captive birds in Northern Ireland be kept indoors, or otherwise kept separate from wild birds.”
Poultry keepers are well-briefed on biosecurity measures and good practice regarding the threat of HPAI but given the continued spread of this disease in the wild bird population, vigilance must be heightened.
The advice is that bird keepers should be on alert for any signs of the disease. If they suspect birds have avian influenza they should immediately contact their own vet or DAERA divisional vets.
“I would also advise all poultry farmers to plan now, how they would implement emergency procedures, should they have to do so. This would allow birds to be housed and separated if there is any cause for concern,” said Tom Forgrave.
Both DAERA and the UFU are committed to doing all that is necessary to keep the disease out of Northern Ireland, and are working closely with DEFRA in England to monitor wild bird and other risks.
For further information visit https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/