Flocks culled at zoo after rare virus outbreak
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.”