Although steps are being taken to minimise bird flu outbreaks and put a stop to the disease, it is highly likely it will continue to affect both wild and captive birds for the foreseable future, both in the UK and futher afield.
With that in mind, the NGO would like to share with our members the below advice, which has been put together by leading game bird vets from the Trusted Game initiative.
The Rearing Field:
What happens if I get bird flu on my rearing field or at my game farm?
* The field will immediately be put under restrictions. No birds, animals, people, equipment or poultry products can move off the premises without a licence, which is issued by Government disease control officers. All kept birds remaining on the premises are culled.
* You are able to receive compensation at a standard government rate
What happens if my rearing field or game farm is within a 10km surveillance zone?
* You will not be allowed to move gamebirds outside of the 10km zone
* No birds can be moved in or out of the 10km surveillance zone
* A licence can be sorted for day-old chicks and eggs, but this has some legal restrictions that you will have to comply with. Please speak to your gamebird vet
Can I move birds from my rearing field to my release pen if both are in a 3km protection zone or a 10km surveillance zone?
* In practical terms no, it is not possible to release gamebirds within the 10km surveillance zone or the 3km protection zone
The Release Pen:
What happens if my release pen is within a 10km surveillance zone before it is full?
* In practical terms you will not be allowed to bring any gamebirds into the 10km surveillance zone for release
What happens if I have birds in a release pen and they fall under a 10km surveillance zone?
* Those birds must remain within the pen and are not allowed to be released
* Every effort must be made to keep the utmost bio-security and keep wild birds away from feeders and drinkers
After the Release Period:
What happens if my shoot falls into a 10km surveillance zone after the gamebirds have been released?
* This depends on the type of bird flu that is found in wild birds or captive birds
* Shooting MAY be stopped within the 10km surveillance zone if the outbreak is the H5N1 type –you will need to check with local regulations or ask your gamebird vet
* For other strains of bird flu, shooting within the zones is generally unaffected
* During bird flu outbreaks bio-security is crucial. Care must be taken not to spread bird flu
* Keep all shot wild birds well away from any other poultry or live gamebirds
* Disinfect vehicles
* Even if just a small area of your estate / farm / shoot falls within the 10km surveillance zone, the entire holding is classed as being inside
Can my shot game go into the human food chain if I fall in a 10km surveillance zone?
* It is legal for your game to be collected by an AGHE and to go into the human food chain
* However many AGHEs will be unable to collect the shot game because they will be unable to export any game from their plant if they do
* Forward planning is key
Shoots also need to make sure that they have a County Parish Holding Number. This will allow you to apply for any licences necessary and – in the worst case scenario – allow you to be compensated if bird flu does occur during the rearing or release period.
There are also some other considerations that a shoot of any size should be aware of. A more detailed document is available below. Please take the time to read it fully.