BASC has highlighted the avian influenza information issued by government and rural organisations following confirmation that the H5N8 strain of the disease has been found at a game farm in Lancashire.
BASC has reiterated information issued by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland governments and six other countryside and shooting organisations (CA, CLA, GFA, GWCT, NGO and SGA).
Glynn Evans, BASC head of game and deer management, said: “Government has come together with countryside and shooting organisations to issue important information about avian influenza to everyone involved with gamebirds. We would urge everyone involved in gamebird management to read and follow this hugely important advice.”
The government has also confirmed the disease has this week been found in a turkey flock near Boston in Lincolnshire.
Defra has established 3km protection zones and a 10km surveillance zones around both infected premises in an attempt to limit the risk of the disease spreading.
No restrictions are currently imposed on shooting, but BASC is asking members to familiarise themselves with the requirements of the zones, be aware of the symptoms of bird flu and to report suspicions to the relevant authorities. In particular, BASC has highlighted practical biosecurity measures which can help limit the spread of bird flu.
The advice is that the risk to public health remains very low and the Food Standards Agency is clear that bird flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.
Avian influenza prevention zones in place in England, Scotland and Wales since December 6 have now been extended until 28th February 2017. Northern Ireland’s prevention zone has now been extended until March 16, 2017. There is a GB-wide ban on poultry shows and gatherings.
Defra’s bird flu factsheet, including how to spot the symptoms, can be viewed here.
BASC is also highlighting that members of the public who find dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks) or gulls, or five or more dead wild birds of other species in the same location should report incidents to the Defra helpline (Tel: 03459 33 55 77) or in Northern Ireland to the DAERA helpline (Tel: 0300 200 7840).