A bird flu prevention zone has been introduced in Northern Ireland

The decision to introduce AIPZ to Northern Ireland follows the confirmation of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 in samples taken from captive birds at the Castle Espie Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT), Strangford Lough. There have been multiple detections of HPAI H5N1 in wild birds across the UK, with cases of the H5N1 strain also having been confirmed in captive birds and poultry at over 180 different holdings since October 2019. last year. An AIPZ will also be introduced across Britain, with similar measures introduced in the Republic of Ireland a few weeks ago.

The AIPZ imposes a legal obligation on all bird keepers in Northern Ireland to follow strict biosecurity measures. This applies whether you keep pet birds, commercial flocks, or just a few birds in a yard or hobby flock.

There is currently no obligation to house poultry and gatherings of birds are not prohibited at this stage.

A Bird Flu Prevention Zone has been introduced in Northern Ireland from midday on Monday October 17, Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots has confirmed.

Minister Poots commented: “The UK is currently experiencing its biggest outbreak of bird flu, with over 180 cases confirmed since last October.

“With the presence of Notifiable Avian Influenza confirmed at the Castle Espie Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, the Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO) has already introduced appropriate disease control measures, including a control zone to prevent the spread of disease and, above all, to protect the poultry industry in Northern Ireland.

“A DAERA veterinary risk assessment noted that with the approach of winter migration seasons, the likelihood of an HPAI incursion into the NI will increase. Without immediate action now on biosecurity and good agricultural practice, I fear this foray will not be the last in Northern Ireland for months to come.

“Because of this increased risk, which is echoed by our UK counterparts, I have decided to set up a bird flu prevention zone across Northern Ireland from 12pm (noon) on October 17 2022. This is in line with GB’s introduction of an AIPZ since the at the same time and will mirror similar measures introduced in the RoI on 19 September.

NI Chief Veterinarian Dr. Robert Huey added, “Measures in the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone include strict and mandatory biosecurity measures to help prevent the spread of disease from wild birds or another source to poultry; an obligation to provide poultry or other captive birds with food and water that wild birds do not have access to, and mandatory cleaning and disinfection rules.

“There is currently no requirement to house poultry and gatherings of birds are not prohibited at this stage, but this will be constantly reviewed.

“I encourage all farmers, even if you only keep one bird, to improve biosecurity to prevent an incursion of disease into our poultry flock. If bird flu were to enter our flock in Northern Ireland it would have a significant and devastating impact on our poultry industry, international trade and the economy in general.

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Establishment of a captive bird surveillance zone following the confirmation of a …

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