Bird flu update – new case confirmed
Members of the shooting community are advised to make themselves aware of the measures being taken to limit the further spread of avian influenza (bird flu) after the H5N8 strain of the disease was confirmed in a small backyard flock of chickens and ducks in Settle, South Yorkshire. The same strain was confirmed in turkeys at a farm in Lincolnshire on 16 December; in a small backyard flock in Carmarthenshire on 3 January; and has been found in wild birds across England, Scotland and Wales. Despite this, risk to human health remains very low. Information endorsed by Defra, the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland governments and collated by seven leading countryside and shooting organisations (BASC, CA, CLA, GFA, GWCT, NGO and SGA) has been made available for anyone involved with gamebirds. You can view the information here: http://bit.ly/2jAJyoR
In addition to the existing Prevention Zones, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has declared new Protection and Surveillance Zones around the infected premises in Settle. The Prevention Zones that have been in place in England, Scotland and Wales since 6 December have now been extended until 28 February, and Northern Ireland declared a 30-day Prevention Zone on 23 December. There is also a GB-wide ban on poultry shows and gatherings.
No restrictions are currently imposed on shooting, but members of the shooting community are being asked to familiarise themselves with the requirements of the zones; be aware of the signs and symptoms and report suspicions to the relevant authorities; implement practical biosecurity measures where necessary; and report any findings of dead waterfowl or five or more dead wild birds in one location to the relevant authorities.
Glynn Evans, BASC head of game and deer management, said: “It is important the wider shooting community remains vigilant to bird flu and makes itself aware of how to spot the symptoms of the disease.”