Avian flu case prompts tighter Scottish restrictions

Chickens in farm in France Image copyright AFP
Image caption All species of poultry are subject to the restrictions

Events where birds are gathered together, such as livestock fairs and auctions, have been banned to control avian influenza.

The suspension order from the Scottish government applies to birds most at risk: all poultry and game bird species, ducks, geese and swans.

Gatherings of pigeons, aviary birds and birds of prey can go ahead.

The move follows the confirmation of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N8 in Lincolnshire.

Similar restrictions have been imposed in England.

An avian influenza prevention zone declared across Scotland at the start of December remains in force until 6 January.

Biosecurity measures

Rural economy secretary Fergus Ewing said: "The arrival of H5N8 in the UK highlights how essential it is that bird keepers remain vigilant for signs of disease and comply with the requirements of the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone currently in place.

"I would urge bird keepers to review their biosecurity measures to ensure that they are doing everything they possibly can to protect their flocks."

Scotland's chief vet Sheila Voas added: "I strongly advise keepers to discuss their specific arrangements with their private vets, or local Animal Plant and Health Agency office, as they are best placed to provide practical advice for your situation.

"Keepers who are concerned about the health or welfare of their flock should seek veterinary advice immediately.

"Expert advice remains that consumers should not be concerned about eating eggs or poultry and the threat to public health from the virus is very low."

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