Ulster Farmers’ Union is urging its members to follow new housing measures introduced yesterday as part of an Avian Influenza (AI) Prevention Zone aimed at safeguarding the poultry industry in Northern Ireland.
“It was confirmed by DAERA officials that two wild birds retrieved from the Belfast Waterworks site contracted AI,” said William Irvine, deputy president, UFU. “This follows on from 17 cases of highly pathogenic AI in Great Britain and one case in a commercial turkey flock in Co Monaghan.
“With the risk of infection rising greatly, DAERA are now putting new housing measures in place at. This is a critical decision to protect the NI poultry industry.
“I would like to remind members that it is a legal requirement to comply with the new housing measures that are to come into effect in the coming days.
“This means that all flocks, including commercial and backyard birds, must be housed. Failure to do so may result in enforced action being taken. I also urge all poultry keepers to review their biosecurity measures and business continuity plans immediately to protect their own flock.
“To reduce the risk of infection in poultry, maintaining high levels of biosecurity and practicing good farm hygiene at all times is essential. It is important that poultry keepers make use of all the help and services that are available to them to protect their poultry business.
“I urge producers to make themselves familiar with DAERA’s guidance on good biosecurity and there is a text alert service which they can sign up to.
“To subscribe to the text alert service, text BIRDS to 67300. DAERA have also developed a biosecurity self-assessment tool on their website to assist all bird keepers in complying with the new rules. If producers have any suspicion of disease in their flock, they should contact their vet or local divisional veterinary office immediately.”
DAERA’s biosecurity self-assessment tool to help all bird keepers comply with the new housing rules can be accessed using the DAERA AI biosecurity - self assessment link on the website daera-ni.gov.uk.