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Avian Influenza Info

The following information was received from The Poultry Club on Friday 28th April.

Defra announced on Friday 28th April 2017 proposals for the Avian Influenza Prevention Zones (AIPZs) and the ban on gatherings. The proposals areconditional on there being no outbreaks in poultry or findings in wild birds between now and 15 May.

The following is a summary of the AIPZ proposals:

England – AIPZ will be lifted on 15 May

Scotland – AIPZ will be allowed to lapse on 30 April and will not be renewed

Wales – AIPZ will be allowed to lapse on 30 April and will not be renewed

Northern Ireland – AIPZ will be extended until 31 May and will then be reviewed

The following is a summary of the position on poultry shows, markets and gatherings:

England& Scotland – allowed from 15 May. The current General Licences will be revoked and replaced by new GLs allowing poultry gatherings subject to some additional biosecurity measures. This will be available soon from each Administration’s website.

Wales – ban remains at present – allowed from date will be confirmed shortly.

Northern Ireland – intend a phased approach which will allow shows to commence initially with single demonstration flocks with the intention of allowing shows from end of May.

More information can be found on the Defra Website www.gov.uk/government/news/avian-flu-measures-to-be-relaxed-in-england-from-15-may

13/3 UPDATE

Avian Influenza (AI) is a highly contagious viral disease affecting the respiratory, digestive and/or nervous system of many species of birds.

Avian Influenza is a disease of birds. Humans can become infected but rarely are. There are many strains of AI viruses which vary in their ability to cause disease. AI viruses are categorised according to their ability to cause severe disease in bird species. There are:

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) viruses (HPAI)
Low Pathogenic Avian Influenza (LPAI) viruses.
Some strains of HPAI can spread easily and quickly between birds in poultry populations and cause severe disease, with a high death rate.

A risk to the global human population may be posed by a new influenza virus that significantly differs from recent or existing strains of human influenza viruses. Therefore, any outbreak of AI must be controlled quickly. Anyone that works in close contact with infected birds must be well protected. Contingency plans are in place to ensure this can be achieved.

It is vital that all bird keepers continue to practice the highest levels of biosecurity and be vigilant for any signs of disease. If you are concerned about the health of your birds you should seek advice from your veterinary surgeon. If you suspect that your birds have AI, you should report it to your local Animal and Plant Health Agency office.

New Avian Influenza Prevention Zone – 28 February to 30 April

The Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs has declared a further Avian Influenza Prevention Zone from the 28 February 2017 until the 30 April 2017. A copy of the Declaration is available in the document download section below. The Prevention Zone will continue to apply to the whole of Wales, but will require different measures as set out below:

Keepers of poultry and other captive birds in the new Avian Influenza Prevention Zone must ensure:

1 They complete the Welsh Government Avian Influenza Prevention Zone Self Assessment Form.

2 They adopt one or more of the following:
(i) house their birds
(ii) keep totally separate from wild birds, by use of netting etc
(iii) allow controlled access to outside areas, subject to applying additional risk mitigation measures.

3 Wild birds cannot access bedding, feed and water intended for poultry and other captive birds.

4 Any person who comes into contact with poultry and other captive birds must take all reasonable precautions to avoid the transfer of contamination between premises, including cleansing and disinfection of equipment, vehicles and PPE and the changing of boots/footwear between houses/different areas of site.

5 Steps are taken to reduce the movement of people, vehicles or equipment to and from areas where poultry or captive birds are kept to minimise contamination between premises. Robust records must be maintained of any movements in or out of the poultry or other captive birds area.

6 Vermin control programmes are implemented, including making the area and buildings where poultry or captive birds are kept inaccessible and unattractive to wild birds.

7 Housing and equipment is thoroughly cleansed and disinfected at the end of a production cycle.

8 The area where poultry or other captive birds are kept is regularly checked for signs of wild bird access and appropriate corrective action taken immediately.

9 Boot dips using approved disinfectants at the appropriate concentration, must be kept at all points where people must use it, such as, but not limited to, farm entrances and before entering poultry housing or enclosures.

10 Domestic waterfowl (ducks and geese) are kept separately from, and cannot make contact with, other domestic species.

11 Regular health checks of the birds are completed and any changes in bird health are discussed with a private veterinary. If a notifiable disease is suspected then this should be immediately reported to APHA.

12 The site is regularly inspected and kept clean, any spillages are immediately cleaned.

Please remember the current Avian Influenza Prevention Zone and the required measures will remain in place until the 28 February, however to provide time for all keepers to prepare and complete the “Avian Influenza Prevention Zone Self Assessment Form” copies of this and the “Additional Risk Mitigation Measures” have been provided below in the Document Download section.

The form will assist all keepers of poultry and other captive birds to ensure they are compliant with the required measures. keepers of poultry and other captive birds must sign and complete. Those keepers who, following the assessment, wish to provide controlled access to outside areas for their birds by applying additional risk mitigation measures must also complete .

The completed Self Assessment Form should be retained and provided for inspection if requested by representatives from APHA or Local Authorities.

Gatherings of Poultry Suspended

A Risk Assessment on the likelihood of spread of avian notifiable disease associated with bird gatherings has been prepared by the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).

In consideration of the assessment, the Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths announced a further precautionary measure with the introduction of a temporary suspension on gatherings of some species of birds in Wales.

The ban on gatherings applies to poultry, including chickens, turkeys, ducks and geese, and restricts events such as fairs, markets, shows, sales or exhibitions. Similar bans have been introduced in England and Scotland, ensuring a consistent GB approach.

The ban does not apply to pigeons or aviary birds which present a much lower risk of passing the disease to domestic poultry. These arrangements will be kept under review and may be lifted or amended if the risk level changes.

The General Licence for bird gatherings has been amended to reflect this. Keepers of Poultry and other captive birds should familiarise themselves with the new licence which is available on the Bird gatherings and advice page.

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17/2 Poultry Club Of Great Britain – Information Regarding Egg Shows

I can confirm that provided these are table eggs and not hatching eggs, any such show would not be classed as a gathering provided there are no live birds present.
Just to note eggs would only be allowed to be entered into a show if they originate from the Prevention Zone – there are no provisions that would allow eggs from any Protection Zone (PZ) or Surveillance Zone (SZ) to move to such an event.
We suggest the organisers ensure that:

1. Owners should inspect their birds immediately before the event to ensure no signs of AI and if any birds look unwell then eggs should not be shown
2. Trays or boxes must be new or cleaned and disinfected ( in accordance with the order)
3. Eggs must be cleaned (they will be washed or wiped anyway for a show I think)
4. After the event the eggs are either returned to the premises of origin for disposal or disposed of as ABP for heat treatment
5. Organisers should keep a record of all exhibitors and it would be good practice to put down disinfectant mats.
It is not a legal requirement to do so, but the organiser may wish to notify APHA by sending an email tocustomeradvice@apha.gsi.gov.uk with the date of the show so that they have contact details of the show organiser should we need to ever follow up who attended the show.

I hope this provides you with the information you need.
Kind regards,
Gordon

Gordon Hickman
Team leader
Exotic Disease Control

16/2 Poultry Club Of Great Britain

The Poultry Club of Great Britain (PCGB) has welcomed the results of a meeting with the Department
for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), which took place in London yesterday.
The meeting followed the appointment of PCGB Council Members Jed Dwight and Lee Grant as liaisons
to the Government Department last week, and was organised so that introductions could be made, a
strong relationship sustained and answers to issues concerning Avian Influenza obtained.
Speaking afterwards, Lee Grant said:
“The PCGB has always had a strong relationship with DEFRA, and it was great to be able to ensure that
that relationship continues to go from strength to strength, in the interest of all of the Poultry Clubs
members, as well as poultry keepers more widely.
I feel that myself and Jed managed to gain important answers for the Club’s members at yesterday’s
meeting, and a letter will be going out to all members soon.”
Adding, Jed Dwight said:
“On top of this important meeting, the PCGB has managed to build important bridges with the NFU,
and as a result will be sending the following advice (http://www.nfuonline.com/assets/81907) –
recently released by the NFU – out to all of our members together with the update from yesterday’s
meeting.
We are also actively arranging to meet with the NFU team at Stoneleigh, and look forward to building
upon this relationship, with both sides keen to work closely together in future.”
Important notes from the meeting held on the 20th January 2017 include:

1. Improved communication to poultry keepers:

DEFRA officials confirmed that communication to all poultry keepers has been difficult,
namely due to many keepers having not provided their full details, including email addresses
and phone numbers. The Department do not have the ability to write out in letter form to all
of those included on the list. As a result of this, only those on the DEFRA register that have
supplied an email or mobile phone will have received alerts. We therefore urge members to
ensure that their details are up to date on the register, either by contacting DEFRA or their
local Trading Standards. In addition, keepers can register for the SMS ‘Disease Alert’ and they
will receive notifications of outbreaks at the earliest opportunity: http://animalhealth.system-
message.co.uk/AH_subscribe_index.php

2. Protection of pure breeds of poultry in the event of a cull:

Unlike for previous outbreaks – such as Foot and Mouth – the Department has no appetite
for, nor policy in place that would result in compulsory culling – in this case of poultry – within
the surveillance or protection zones (only on infected sites/flocks). Should birds situated on
an infected site – but not necessarily be infected themselves – be under threat, the
Department Vet will properly take into account whether these birds are listed on the Farm
Animal Genetic Resources Committee (FAnGR) ‘at risk’ list, in which case, should results
confirm that these birds have not been infected, attempts will be made to assist in their
preservation. If found to be in this position, breeders should strongly advise if their breeds are
included within this list.

3. Compensation in the event of a cull:

Although understanding, as breeders ourselves, that many PCGB members would not be
interested in compensation, with the protection of the breeds that they act as guardians for
being paramount, this concern had been raised, and so clarity was sought.

DEFRA officials confirmed that if a cull were to take place and healthy birds (not showing signs
of AI) were culled – compensation will be paid in accordance with DEFRA’s schedule for
commercial birds. In the case of purebred poultry – birds will be valued before the cull. This
valuation will take into account current values and information is likely to be sought from
experts such as breed clubs. Having relevant Breed Club membership and PCGB leg-rung birds
demonstrates a commitment that may be seen as favourable in this situation. For example, if
a member were to seek compensation for a particular bird and was not a member of that
breed club, it is likely only the commercial value will be paid.

4. The list of breeds included in FAnGR’s ‘at risk’ list

The PCGB will be working closely together with both the Rare Breeds Survival Trust(RBST) and
FAnGR to ensure that all relevant breeds are included on relevant lists, and will ensure that
members and breed clubs are kept informed.

5. Shows involving eggs only:

Egg only shows continue to be permitted, but exhibitors and organisers are asked to consider
proper bio-security measures. DEFRA will shortly be sending a letter to the PCGB more fully
addressing egg shows in the event of an AI outbreak.

6. Important advice for poultry keepers:

It is important for keepers to acknowledge that they have a legal obligation to follow the policy
instruction provided by the relevant authorities. These requirements can be seen by following
this link: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/avian-influenza-bird-flu-in-winter-2016-to-
2017. Further advice that DEFRA officials stressed during the talks included keeping birds away
from water courses and ponds, feeding birds inside, and keeping species separate i.e keeping
waterfowl separate from other species of poultry. Weight was also given to minimising the
‘human risk’ through sound bio-security measures when visiting flocks and related events.

7. Devolved Authorities:

DEFRA officials confirmed that management across the devolved authorities, particularly
those in England, Wales and Scotland, are closely interlinked in terms of AI restrictions. Those
in Northern Ireland addressed by DAERA can exhibit differences, and as such it was advised
that a meeting between the PCGB and DAERA officials should be arranged. Northern Irish
PCGB Council Member Neal Adams will take part in these talks, taking into account the advice
included within this release.

8. Overview for all poultry keepers:

All current restrictions will be reviewed by DEFRA in mid-February, and advice will sought
from, and provided to the PCGB as a major stakeholder at this time. This advice will be passed
on accordingly.

16/2 Wales

The Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs (WALES) has announced a new Avian Influenza Prevention Zone, in place from 28 February until 30 April.
Monday 13 February 2017
Lesley Griffiths has also confirmed there will be some important changes to the measures that will apply within the new all-Wales Prevention Zone.

The current Prevention Zone requires all keepers of poultry and other captive birds to keep their birds indoors or take all appropriate steps to keep them separate from wild birds, and to enhance biosecurity. This follows a number of confirmed cases of Avian Flu across the UK, including in a backyard flock of chicken and ducks near Pontyberem, Carmarthenshire.

Expert advice suggests it is unlikely the current level of risk will change before the current Prevention Zone is scheduled to end on 28 February. In view of this, and following consultation with industry and veterinary representatives, the Cabinet Secretary has decided to put in place a new Prevention Zone, that will take effect from midnight on 28 February.

The new Avian Influenza Prevention Zone requires all keepers to complete a self assessment of biosecurity measures on their premises. The objective being to keep domestic flocks totally separate from wild birds by continuing to keep birds housed or using other measures, which may include permitting controlled access to outside areas, subject to the introduction of additional risk mitigation measures.

The Cabinet Secretary said:

“My decision to put in place a new Avian Influenza Prevention Zone until 30 April is based on sound expert and industry advice.

“The risk of infection from wild birds is unlikely to decrease in the coming weeks. The changes I am announcing today are proportionate and place the onus on the keeper to select the best option for their circumstances to protect their birds. They must, however, ensure compliance with the additional risk mitigation measures”.

The Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales, Christianne Glossop added:

“Keepers of poultry and other captive birds must remain vigilant for signs of disease. Avian Influenza is a notifiable disease, and any suspicion should be reported immediately to the Animal and Plant Health Agency. Keepers should practice the highest levels of biosecurity if they are to minimise the risk of infection.

“I continue to strongly encourage all poultry keepers, even those with fewer than 50 birds, to provide their details to the Poultry Register. This will ensure they can be contacted immediately, via email or text update, in an avian disease outbreak enabling them to protect their flock at the earliest opportunity”.

16/2 Scotland

Dear Sir/Madam

Last week, the Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity announced that the Avian
Influenza Prevention Zone covering all of Scotland should be renewed beyond its current expiry date
of 28 February 2017 to last until at least the end of April, but with important changes. This decision
followed consultation with representatives of Scotland’s vital poultry industry and retailers, and was
informed by my advice in light of the continued spread of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI)
H5N8 across Europe, including nine confirmed cases in England and Wales as well as numerous
findings in wild birds all over the UK. This H5N8 strain has proven to be highly virulent and caused
significant mortalities in both wild and captive birds. It is therefore in the interests of all bird keepers,
whatever their size, to take steps to protect their flocks.

Within the current zone, which remains in force until 28 February, all poultry and captive birds must
be either kept indoors or otherwise separated from wild birds. The Scottish Government has
produced a poster providing practical tips on how keepers can achieve this, which is available via our
webpage www.gov.scot/avianinfluenza.

From 28 February the requirements of the zone will change, meaning that keepers in Scotland can
let their birds out provided that they have enhanced biosecurity measures in place. Keepers will still
have the option to house their birds – for many this will continue to be the easiest way to protect them
from AI, but they will lose free range status under EU law by continuing to house.

If keepers do intend to release their birds from 28 February then there are steps that they should
begin taking now in order to make their range unattractive to wild birds for the remaining days in
February – it is vital that these activities start as soon as possible:

Make your birds’ range unattractive to wild birds:
o Net ponds and drain waterlogged areas of land. If this isn’t possible, then can you
fence them off from your birds so they cannot access it whilst ranging, or use an
alternative paddock that doesn’t have access to water
o Remove any feeders and water stations from the range, or ensure that they are
covered to sufficiently restrict access by wild birds
o Consider using decoy predators or other livestock (such as sheep or cattle) on the
range, or allowing dogs to accompany you on foot patrols around the range. You could
also consider bird scarers if their use is appropriate for the area (see NFU Code of
Practice on bird scarers)
o Consider increasing the number of shelters on the range area

If keepers have any concerns about their biosecurity arrangements, or their birds’ welfare, then I
would urge them to discuss these with their private vet in the first instance.

Yours sincerely

SHEILA VOAS
CHIEF VETERINARY OFFICER (SCOTLAND)