A prevention zone has been declared across Britain to stop poultry and other captive birds from contracting avian flu, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has said.
The move comes on the same day on Wednesday that a flock of poultry was culled near Dundee in Scotland after an avian influenza outbreak.
Several days ago, a number of cases were detected in both wild birds and poultry in Wrexham, Wales. It is thought the infections originated from dead wild birds which tested positive for the disease.
Last month, a case of avian flu was identified at a wild bird rescue centre in Droitwich Spa, Worcestershire.
All bird-keepers are required by law to follow strict biosecurity measures from Wednesday in a bid to stop the disease being passed from wild birds to their flocks.
Those with more than 500 birds will need to restrict enclosure access to essential staff and ensure that workers change clothing and footwear before entering these areas.
Site vehicles will also need to be disinfected regularly.
Other measures include the requirement to put up nets around ponds and get rid of wild bird food sources near captive flocks.
“Whether you keep just a few birds or thousands, you are now legally required to introduce higher biosecurity standards on your farm or smallholding,” the chief veterinary officers of England, Scotland and Wales told bird-keepers.
“It is in your interests to do so in order to protect your birds from this highly infectious disease,” they said.
They added that the risk to public health and the food safety risk is very low. “Properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat,” the government said this week.
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies