Poultry producers are being warned to remain vigilant following the lifting of heightened biosecurity measures imposed last winter due to avian flu.
Mandatory enhanced biosecurity requirements – imposed across Great Britain in November 2020 to protect flocks from the disease – were lifted on 15 May after the risk of bird flu in poultry was reduced to ‘low’.
Defra, the Scottish Government and the Welsh Government have been working with the industry and bird keepers to ensure strict biosecurity measures in and around poultry premises to help keep flocks safe.
In a joint statement, Great Britain’s three chief veterinary officers said: “This will be welcome news for bird keepers across the country who have put great effort into keeping their flocks safe this winter.
“We have taken swift action to contain and eliminate this disease, and we urge all bird keepers – whether they have just a few birds or thousands – to continue to do their bit to maintain strict biosecurity measures on their premises.”
Low risk does not mean no risk, said the statement.
All poultry and bird gatherings are now permitted, provided organisers notify the Animal and Plant Health Agency at least seven days before the event takes place. Organisers and attendees must comply with the provisions of the new general licence.
Public health advice is that any risk to human health is low. Food standards bodies advise that avian influ poses a very low food safety risk for UK consumers, and it does not affect the consumption of poultry products – including eggs.
Poultry and captive bird keepers are advised to remain vigilant for any signs of disease in their birds and any wild birds, and seek prompt advice from their vet if they have any concerns.