Government has joined with organisations involved in gamebird management to issue revised guidance on bird flu and the way it can affect the activities of gamebird rearers.
Published today by eight game shooting, research and game conservation bodies, the new guidance is endorsed by Defra, the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland governments. It will appear on all their websites and is available here.
Advice on this subject was first agreed nationally last winter during a severe outbreak of notifiable bird flu in the UK. The new advice differs in that it is general in nature and no longer date sensitive.
Specific advice relating to any actual outbreaks will be published separately so that this standing advice can remain clear and widely available.
A spokesman for the eight stakeholder bodies said, "The UK is currently free of bird flu and whilst we hope that will remain the case, it is important to keep awareness and biosecurity high to reduce risks and to be ready should the disease reappear. Gamebirds can catch bird flu and the activities of gamebird rearers may also be affected by official controls introduced to eradicate the disease elsewhere. The advice explains the signs of the disease and what to do if it is detected. It also sets out the typical control measures, explaining how they might affect each aspect of gamebird management. It urges all gamebird keepers to make contingency plans now, lest their birds be infected with bird flu or their activities caught up in movement restrictions and other control measures.
The UK’s Chief Veterinary Officer, Nigel Gibbens, said:
We are pleased to endorse this important revised advice. Bird flu remains a serious concern and the control measures required can be fast-moving and comprehensive.
It will help the gamebird industry to have approved, standing advice widely available so that keepers can plan ahead to minimise their risk of the disease."
Notes to editors
The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust – providing research-led conservation for a thriving countryside. The GWCT is an independent wildlife conservation charity which has carried out scientific research into Britain’s game and wildlife since the 1930s. We advise farmers and landowners on improving wildlife habitats. We employ 22 post-doctoral scientists and 50 other research staff with expertise in areas such as birds, insects, mammals, farming, fish and statistics. We undertake our own research as well as projects funded by contract and grant-aid from Government and private bodies. The Trust is also responsible for a number of Government Biodiversity Action Plan species and is lead partner for grey partridge and joint lead partner for brown hare and black grouse.
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