Avian Influenza

New compulsory biosecurity and housing measures to further protect against avian influenza

Poultry owners in Blaenau Gwent are being urged by the county borough council to prepare for new biosecurity and housing measures that will come into force on Friday 2nd December.

The biosecurity and housing requirements for poultry and captive birds in Wales, which come into force on Friday, 2 December, are being taken to get ahead of a possible increased level of avian influenza virus in the environment and build extra resilience to the important measures introduced in October through the Wales Avian Influenza Prevention Zone.

From Friday, 2 December, it will be a legal requirement for all bird keepers to keep their birds indoors or otherwise separated from wild birds.

Keepers must also complete and act upon a bespoke biosecurity review of the premises where birds are kept. This is to minimise the risk of virus entry in bird houses, which usually results in high mortality.

These new measures are in addition to those in the Wales Avian Influenza Prevention Zone, which remain crucially important.

Now, Animal Health Officers are encouraging bird keepers to adhere to the new measures, by making sure housing is suitable, with the housed environment enhanced to protect bird welfare. Keepers should consult their vet for advice where needed.

Cllr Helen Cunninghan, Deputy Leader/Cabinet Member for Place & Environment, said: “There has been an unprecedented incursion of avian influenza into Great Britain and Europe in 2022.

“Housing is effective in protecting birds against avian influenza only if accompanied by rigorous biosecurity to keep the virus out of bird houses. This is best done by completing the biosecurity checklist, which will be compulsory for all keepers.

“Public health advice remains that the risk to human health from the virus is very low and food standards bodies advise that avian influenzas pose a very low food safety risk for UK consumers.

“I want to thank all keepers in Blaenau Gwent for the steps they have taken to keep birds in Wales safe from this devastating disease, steps which we know have protected birds. The additional measures announced will build on that effort. If implemented rigorously, our birds will be protected.”

To view the Mandatory biosecurity self-assessment checklist visit https://gov.wales/mandatory-biosecurity-self-assessment-checklist

For the latest updates on Avian influenza (bird flu) visit https://gov.wales/avian-influenza-bird-flu-latest-update