Current Affairs

Bird flu prevention zone declared in Wales

An avian influenza prevention zone will be set up in Wales by midnight tonight (24 January) to reduce the risk of infection to the bird population.

Wales Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths, Lesley Griffiths, took the action as a preventative measure, after three separate cases of the disease were found in England.

DEFRA has since declared a bird flu prevention zone across the whole of England.

No cases of Avian Influenza H5N6 have been identified in Wales but a veterinary risk assessment has suggested that the risk level for England and Wales is medium to high.

The risk for poultry has been raised from low to medium.

Keepers of more than 500 birds will need to follow biosecurity guidelines to reduce the risk of their animals catching the virus.

Griffiths said: “I have carefully considered, with advice from our chief veterinary officer, the decision by DEFRA to implement an AI prevention zone to cover all of England, following the raising of the risk level for poultry to “medium” and for wild birds to “high”.

“There is currently no evidence to indicate the presence of avian influenza in Wales and the veterinary risk does not warrant placing compulsory controls on a country wide basis.”

She added: “The finding of avian influenza is in wild birds, not poultry or captive birds, and following veterinary advice I do not consider it is proportionate to declare statutory controls in Wales. We will continue to closely monitor the situation, keep the need for controls under review and encourage poultry keepers to be vigilant and adhere to strict biosecurity protocols to protect their birds. We are ready to step up measures should the situation change.”

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