Gatherings of poultry suspended following case of H5N8 in England.
Issued by The Scottish Government
A temporary suspension of gatherings of some species of birds will apply across Scotland and the rest of Great Britain from today.
The ban on gatherings (livestock fairs, auctions, shows or other events) applies to those attending with bird species which are considered at higher risk of spreading avian influenza: this includes all poultry and game bird species, ducks, geese and swans. Gatherings of pigeons, aviary birds and birds of prey can continue to take place.
This decision follows the confirmation of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N8 at a farm in Lincolnshire. It is part of a series of comprehensive measures to reduce the likeliness of disease spread, in response to clear evidence that the virus is circulating in wild bird populations around Europe.
The Avian Influenza Prevention Zone declared across Scotland remains in force until 6 January 2017. Bird keepers are reminded that they should continue to keep their birds housed, if possible, or otherwise take steps to ensure they are kept separate from wild birds and ensure excellent biosecurity procedures are in place.
Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy Fergus Ewing said: “We continue to work with the other UK administrations and the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) to prevent the further spread of disease.
“The arrival of H5N8 in the UK highlights how essential it is that bird keepers remain vigilant for signs of disease and comply with the requirements of the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone currently in place. I would urge bird keepers to review their biosecurity measures to ensure that they are doing everything they possibly can to protect their flocks.”
Scotland’s Chief Veterinary Officer Sheila Voas said: “In response to the confirmed case it is important that we take appropriate steps to reduce the possible spread of disease. Suspending bird gatherings of high risk species is a proportionate way to reduce the likelihood of consequential spread, and further limit the chances of a multifocal outbreak occurring in Scotland.
“I would remind keepers that guidance on biosecurity and preventing disease within the Prevention Zone is available on the gov.scot website.
“I strongly advise keepers to discuss their specific arrangements with their private vets, or local Animal Plant and Health Agency office, as they are best placed to provide practical advice for your situation. Keepers who are concerned about the health or welfare of their flock should seek veterinary advice immediately.
“Expert advice remains that consumers should not be concerned about eating eggs or poultry and the threat to public health from the virus is very low.”