The National Gamekeepers’ Organisation is advising its members that Defra has today (18 January 2018) introduced an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone to cover the whole of England. All those with captive birds, including gamekeepers with captive wintering flocks, are now legally required to follow strict biosecurity measures.
The National Gamekeepers’ Organisation is advising its members that Defra has today (18 January 2018) introduced an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone to cover the whole of England. All those with captive birds, including any gamekeepers with captive wintering flocks, are now legally required to follow strict biosecurity measures. For full details click here
Defra advises those with released game to continue to feed and water these gamebirds, but to make reasonable efforts to minimise the chance of other wild birds accessing their feed and water, for example by placing it under cover.
There are currently no findings of bird flu in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland and the Prevention Zone is for England only.
Advice on biosecurity measures, including how to spot avian influenza, what to do if you suspect it, and measures to prevent it, is available by clicking here
Those with gamebirds should also be fully aware of the game-specific advice put together by seven countryside and shooting organisations (BASC, CA, CLA, GFA, GWCT, NGO and SGA) and endorsed by Defra, the Scottish and Welsh Governments and DAERA in Northern Ireland. It can be read here
Please note that shooting is not restricted, but the NGO would however urge shooting interests in the vicinity of specific bird flu outbreaks to act appropriately and consider fully the implications of their actions at this time.
Defra’s decision today to instigate an England-wide Prevention Zone followed from the confirmation of bird flu in 13 wild birds in Warwickshire, which, in turn, follows hard on the heels of the first confirmed finding of bird flu in the UK this winter in wild birds on 12 January in South Dorset. At least 31 infected birds have now been identified at this site. Click here
Monitoring has shown bird flu to be circulating on the continent, and it is believed the virus has been brought to our shores by migratory birds.
Gamekeepers who find dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks) or other dead wild birds in unexpected circumstances should report them to the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77.
A spokesman for the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation said: “We ask all those with an involvement with gamebirds to ensure they are fully up to speed with all the relevant advice on bird flu that is available through the Defra website and, crucially, ensure that their biosecurity arrangements are in line with the best practice guidelines. Please also keep checking for updates on the NGO website and on our social media.”
Notes to Editors
The National Gamekeepers' Organisation represents the gamekeepers of England and Wales. It defends and promotes gamekeeping, gamekeepers and ensures high standards throughout the profession. It was founded in 1997 by a group of gamekeepers who felt that their profession was threatened by public misunderstanding and poor representation. The NGO has around 13,000 members.