BASC is advising members that measures currently in place to reduce the risk of Avian Influenza in England will likely be lifted from 15 May 2017.
Defra has announced that, subject to there being no new outbreaks or findings in wild birds, the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone currently in place in England will be lifted on that date.
Keepers will no longer be required by law to follow specific disease prevention measures to reduce the risk of infection from wild birds.
But the government is advising that all keepers should continue to follow industry best practice on biosecurity, including minimising movement in and out of bird enclosures, cleaning footwear, keeping areas where birds live clean and tidy and feeding birds indoors.
The latest assessment shows that the overall risk in England has fallen from ‘medium’ to ‘low’, comparable with risk levels in November 2016, and should continue to fall in warmer, drier spring weather conditions.
A ban on poultry gatherings will also be lifted in England on 15 May, meaning poultry gatherings can resume from this date, subject to some additional identity and health checks and biosecurity measures.
In Wales, following consideration of the latest risk assessment and veterinary evidence the Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs announced that when the current Avian Influenza Prevention Zone expires on the 30 April it will not be replaced.
However, the temporary suspension on gatherings of some species of birds will remain in place as additional evidence is considered. Further details about the situation in Wales are available here.
In Scotland, the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone announced on 22 February 2017 continues to apply until at least the 30 April 2017. As part of the current requirements, keepers may let their poultry and captive birds out as long as they have enhanced biosecurity measures in place. Further information on the situation in Scotland is available here.
In Northern Ireland, the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs has announced an extension to the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone until May 31, 2017. Further information is available here.