Bird flu found in a commercial breeding pheasant flock

bird flu in pheasantsThe National Gamekeepers’ Organisation (NGO) is informing its members that Defra has confirmed H5N8 avian flu in a flock of farmed breeding pheasants at a premises near Preston, Lancashire. A 3km Protection Zone and a 10km Surveillance Zone has been put in place around the infected premises to limit the risk of the disease spreading.

(Photograph: David Mason)

Defra reports that a number of the flock have died and the remaining live birds at the infected premises are being humanely culled. A full investigation is under way to determine the source of the infection. 

How to spot symptoms of bird flu can be found HERE

Public Health England advises that the risk to public health from the virus is very low and the Food Standards Agency is clear that bird flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers. Find Defra's statement HERE.

The NGO says that the government came together with countryside and shooting organisations on January 13 and issued important information about bird flu to all those specifically involved with gamebirds. 

A spokesman for the NGO said: “It is essential that all the required biosecurity measures to help protect your housed gamebirds from bird flu are in place. Please also keep checking the NGO website and social media for updates.” 

Biosecurity measures can be found HERE. And click HERE to find a map marking both zones.

Essential information

Shooting is not restricted where the 3km Protection and 10km Surveillance Zones – and the single restriction zone in West Wales – are in force, and the movement of shot gamebirds is permissible both within and from these zones. 

Shots in the immediate vicinity of the bird flu outbreaks should consider plans at this time.

Those with captive birds are also reminded of the importance of following the enhanced biosecurity requirements in force in the GB-wide Prevention Zone. The measures include the need to take appropriate steps to keep captive birds separate from wild birds.

Keepers should be aware that the Prevention Zone was extended on January 4 and now runs until February 28 to help protect poultry and captive birds from avian flu. For details click HERE.

Important official guidance and advice on all relevant aspects of avian influenza – from implementing biosecurity measures to spotting symptoms and how to go about reporting suspected cases – are available in a directory on the Defra website. It can be viewed by clicking HERE.

The NGO asks everyone to be vigilant and report any dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks) or gulls or five or more dead wild birds of other species, when encountered in the same location in unusual circumstances, to the Defra helpline on +44(0)3459 335577


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