BASC is advising its members that the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has declared an avian influenza prevention zone across the whole of England.
The announcement comes after Defra confirmed bird ‘flu has been detected in 31 wild birds in Dorset and 13 wild birds in Warwickshire.
Defra established a local prevention zone in Dorset but has now extended the zone across the country on a precautionary basis. It does not cover Scotland or Northern Ireland.
An avian influenza prevention zone has now been introduced across the whole of Wales.
The zone makes it a legal requirement for all bird keepers to follow strict biosecurity measures. There are no plans to carry out any culls or put movement restrictions in place.
Public Health England have advised the risk to public health remains very low and the Food Standards Agency have said that bird flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.
Glynn Evans, BASC head of game and deer management, said: “Shooting is not restricted by the arrival of bird ‘flu in the UK. But it is important the wider shooting community remains vigilant to bird ‘flu and makes itself aware of how to spot symptoms of the disease.”
The government’s chief veterinary officer Nigel Gibbens said: “Following the latest finding of bird flu in wild birds in Warwickshire, we are extending our action to help prevent the virus spreading to poultry and other domestic birds.
“Whether you keep just a few birds or thousands, you are now legally required to meet enhanced biosecurity requirements and this is in your interests to do, to protect your birds from this highly infectious virus.”
The prevention zone will be in place until further notice and will be kept under regular review as part of Defra’s work to monitor the threat of bird flu.
Members of the public should report dead wild birds to the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77 and keepers should report suspicion of disease to the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) on 03000 200 301.