The Ulster Farmers’ Union is urging poultry farmers to be vigilant in light of several confirmed cases of Avian influenza in Dorset, England.
UFU deputy president Victor Chestnutt said: “We strongly recommend that all poultry keepers, including backyard keepers, review their biosecurity measures and business continuity plans now, as the risk level may well increase in the coming weeks.
“Producers should familiarise themselves with DAERA’s guidance on good biosecurity and if you have any suspicion of disease within your flock you should contact your vet or the local DVO immediately.”
The strain is closely related to the H5N6 strain that has been circulating in Europe in recent months. This is different to the strains that were affecting people in China last year and Public Health England have advised that the risk to public health is very low. The Food Standards Agency has said that it does not pose a food safety risk for consumers.
“I would encourage producers to practise good farm hygiene and keep birds’ food and water in enclosed areas separate from wild birds wherever possible. Poultry keepers can also sign up to the Avian influenza text alert service to receive immediate notifications of a disease outbreak,” said Victor Chesnutt.
To subscribe text BIRDS to 67300. The UFU continue to monitor the situation closely.