Wales politics

Avian flu outbreak leads to tighter bird restrictions

Turkeys Image copyright Getty Images

All gatherings of poultry and captive birds have been banned in Wales after an infectious strain of bird flu was found at a farm in Lincolnshire.

An order to keep birds indoors was issued after H5N8 cases in Europe, with the first UK case now confirmed.

Indoor gatherings of birds at events like fairs, auctions and bird shows are now banned until further notice.

People are assured it is safe to eat poultry and eggs, with Christmas supplies not expected to be affected.

The ban does not apply to pigeons or caged birds which present a much lower risk of passing the disease to domestic poultry, the Welsh Government said.

It follows the discovery of the disease at a turkey farm at Louth, Lincolnshire, on Thursday.

Most of the 5,000 birds there died and the rest were subsequently destroyed.

Rural Affairs Secretary Lesley Griffiths said: "While there have been no cases of avian influenza in Wales, this ban on gatherings is an additional measure aimed at protecting our poultry flocks and other domestic birds from the disease.

"I would encourage all poultry keepers, including those with fewer than 50 birds, to provide details of their flocks to the Poultry Register.

"This will ensure they can be contacted immediately in the event of an avian disease outbreak so that they can take action to protect their flock at the earliest opportunity."

'Risk of infection'

Chief Veterinary Officer Christianne Glossop added: "Bio security should never be compromised.

"Even when birds are housed, there remains a risk of infection and keepers of poultry and other captive birds should ensure that every effort is made to prevent contact with wild birds.

"The movement of poultry should be minimized, and clothing and equipment should always be disinfected."

The initial restrictions introduced earlier in December had been imposed for a period of 30 days, but the latest measures have no end date, the Welsh Government said.

Similar bans have been introduced in England and Scotland.

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