Posted: Tue 8th Nov 2022

Bird flu outbreak in Flintshire, no plans for mandatory housing of birds in Wales says Minister

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, Nov 8th, 2022

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Wales will not be introducing the mandatory housing of poultry and captive birds following the latest discovery of Bird Flu on Monday. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Yesterday mandatory housing measures for all poultry and captive birds came into force across all areas of England in an effort to protect flocks from the spread of bird flu from wild birds. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The measures legally require all bird keepers to keep their birds indoors and to follow stringent biosecurity measures. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

It was confirmed on Monday that the highly pathogenic avian influenza (AI) H5N1 had been identified on a captive bird premises in Flintshire. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

A 3km captive bird control zone has been put in place around the infected premises near Buckley. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

A grid reference quoted in a statement by the Welsh Government points to a location close to Drury Lane towards the A550. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The 3km zone is the area within the blue circle on the map below.

In a statement, Flintshire Council said: “On 7 November 2022, Flintshire County Council Trading Standards (Animal Health) received notification from the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) of the presence of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 on a captive bird premises near Buckley, Flintshire. ” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“A 3km Captive Bird (Monitoring) Zone has been put in place around the infected premises.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The Welsh Government website states: “Avian Influenza has been confirmed at premises near Buckley, Flintshire on 7 November.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“From 9pm on Monday, November 7, it became a requirement for owners within the 3km control zone to keep poultry and other captive birds housed inside their buildings.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“If this is impractical or significantly detrimental to the welfare, then a veterinary inspector may direct you to isolate birds without housing them.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

All keepers of kept birds within the 3km zone should be vigilant for signs of the disease such as increased mortality, respiratory distress and drops in food or water intake, or egg production. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Strict biosecurity measures to prevent any materials, equipment, vehicles, clothing, feed or bedding that could have been contaminated from wild birds coming onto premises. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

In a statement on Bird Flu to the Welsh Parliament today, Minister for Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths rejected calls for mandatory housing measures to be introduced in Wales. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

She said: “Yesterday mandatory housing of birds came into force in England, Wales along with Scotland and Northern Ireland have not introduced a similar requirement.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“This reflects both the different scale and nature of AI across different parts of the UK.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“Fortunately, in Wales, we’ve not seen anything like the number of outbreaks in England which will be required to justify any such housing order.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

She said: “However, we keep the situation under daily review and stand ready to do what is necessary to protect our birds and the livelihoods and wellbeing of those who can care for them.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Samuel Kurtz MS said the disease is not “isolated within individual premises, nor does it adhere to petitions or boundaries.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

He said: “I struggle to see why we haven’t brought our biosecurity measures in line with those of England across the border and under the advice of England’s Chief Veterinary Officer.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Mr Kurtz said: “Every poultry site has been instructed to house all poultry and captive birds as designated by Defra, yet in Wales, this pre-emptive measure has yet to be implemented.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“Our failure to do so risks greater transmissibility between wild and commercial populations and will also have much wider ramifications for the industry as a whole.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

In response, Lesley Griffiths said: “The advice I’m given is that we shouldn’t be introducing a compulsory housing policy for poultry and captive birds in Wales at this time.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

But she said: “We will be reviewing it every day.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The Minister added: “I have to say since the compulsory housing was introduced in some parts of England, North Sussex, Suffolk and Essex, they’ve had 34 infected premises confirmed just in those areas collectively, even though with the mandatory housing.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

She said it: “It just reiterates to me and I hope to everybody else how important biosecurity is and that is the biggest thing in this fight against avian influenza.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

[Photo: NFU] ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

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