Flocks culled at zoo af­ter rare virus out­break

The Herald - - NEWS -

DOZENS of birds have been culled at a park’s mini-zoo af­ter it was hit by an out­break of a rare virus.

Chick­ens, ducks, ban­tams, geese and guinea fowl were yes­ter­day de­stroyed hu­manely by Ren­frew­shire Coun­cil at the Na­ture Cor­ner in Bar­shaw Park, Pais­ley.

Of­fi­cers took ac­tion to pro­tect poul­try flocks af­ter the death of a num­ber of wild birds at the site due to the pi­geon paramyxo virus.

The dis­ease car­ries no risk to pub­lic health but can have a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact if it trans­fers to the poul­try in­dus­try, where it is known as New­cas­tle Dis­ease.

The last UK out­break was in East Loth­ian in 2006 and re­sulted in more than 17,000 birds be­ing culled.

Coun­cil staff have been work­ing closely with se­nior vets from the An­i­mal Plant and Health Agency (APHA) in a bid to man­age and con­trol the virus.

The mini-zoo was im­me­di­ately closed as a pre­cau­tion and biosecurity mea­sures put in place to min­imise any spread of the virus.

How­ever, tests re­vealed the virus had al­ready been trans­mit­ted to the res­i­dent dove pop­u­la­tion in Na­ture Cor­ner.

The pri­or­ity of se­nior vets was to pre­vent the virus trans­fer­ring to poul­try species and po­ten­tially im­pact­ing on the na­tional poul­try flock.

Their ad­vice was for the coun­cil to ar­range for the 23 poul­try birds at the mini-zoo to be hu­manely eu­thanised as a mat­ter of ur­gency.

A coun­cil spokesman said Na­ture Cor­ner will then be re­stocked with a range of species be­fore it re­opens to the pub­lic.

He added: “The pub­lic can be as­sured that ev­ery step was taken to man­age the nec­es­sary culling process in a hu­mane man­ner.”

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