Chief vet warns poultry keepers to take action to protect against bird flu

New housing measures were introduced last month to try to stop bird flu spreading.

Mark Davey
Tuesday 21 December 2021 17:19
A gaggle of wild geese (John Giles/PA)
A gaggle of wild geese (John Giles/PA)

Poultry keepers should not be complacent and should undertake the urgent biosecurity measures needed to halt the spread of bird flu, Scotland’s chief veterinary officer says.

Sheila Voas’ stark warning comes as the UK faces its largest ever outbreak of the disease, with five confirmed cases in Scotland, and more than 50 across the UK.

New housing measures were introduced last month to try to stop bird flu spreading.

The chief veterinary officer is reminding all poultry keepers that while the main source of infection comes from migratory wild birds, those failing to implement these measures risk infecting their own flocks by walking the virus into their holdings.

Many poultry keepers have excellent biosecurity standards but the number of cases we are seeing suggests that not enough is being done to keep bird flu out

Scotland's chief veterinary officer Sheila Voas

Ms Voas said: “We have taken swift action to limit the spread of the disease including introducing housing measures.

“However we are seeing a growing number of bird flu cases both on commercial farms and in backyard birds right across the country.

“Many poultry keepers have excellent biosecurity standards but the number of cases we are seeing suggests that not enough is being done to keep bird flu out.

“Whether you keep just a few birds or thousands you must take action now to protect your birds from this highly infectious disease.

“Implementing scrupulous biosecurity has never been more critical.

“You must regularly clean and disinfect your footwear and clothes before entering enclosures, stop your birds mixing with any wild birds and only allow visitors that are strictly necessary.

“It is your actions that will help keep your birds safe.”

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