Avian Influenza: Bird gatherings ban relaxed in Wales

From: Welsh Government
Published: Fri Feb 16 2024

The ban on gatherings of Galliforme birds such as pheasants, chickens and turkeys has been lifted in Wales, Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales, Dr Richard Irvine has announced.

In November 2021, in the face of Great Britain's biggest outbreak of Avian Influenza, a ban on poultry gatherings was introduced to help prevent the spread of the disease and protect flocks.

After more than two years of not allowing gatherings, the second part of 2023 brought a change in the disease picture, with fewer Infected Premises and findings in wild birds. There have been no Infected Premises in Wales since April 2023.

However, the risk levels are still considered to be too high for gatherings of Anseriforme birds such as ducks, geese and swans, which will remain prohibited.

From today, Galliforme bird keepers arranging a fair, market, show, exhibition or other gatherings will be required to follow and meet all requirements of a general licence. Details can found on the Welsh Government website at www.gov.wales/bird-gatherings-general-licence-gatherings and www.gov.wales/bird-gatherings-general-licence-poultry.

To further mitigate the risk of avian influenza, additional conditions are being introduced requiring all birds arriving at gatherings to be inspected by a veterinary surgeon.

Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales, Dr Richard Irvine said:

Poultry keepers have worked hard to protect their birds from the risks of avian influenza by implementing strong biosecurity and other measures, and I want to thank them again for all they have done.

I am pleased we are now able to allow gatherings of Galliforme birds to resume. This is a welcome development, enabled by the support and cooperation of the poultry sector.

This means, from today, gatherings of all types of birds, except Anseriforme birds, will be permitted across Wales, provided keepers follow and meet all the requirements of the general licence.

This does not mean the risk of avian influenza has disappeared. Scrupulous hygiene and biosecurity are essential to protect flocks from the threat of disease, and it is important bird keepers continue to complete the biosecurity self-assessment checklist.

All of our mitigation measures, including restrictions on bird gatherings, are kept under constant review, to help ensure the national flock is protected.

Company: Welsh Government

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