Huge rise in pet hens taken to rescue centres over bird flu fears

The Scottish SPCA has seen rise in the number of birds arriving in its care. with 37 birds were admitted to rescue centres in December and January, compared to four during the same period a year ago.

The SPCA animal helpline saw a 280% increase in the number of calls about bird flu since November.

Chief superintendent Mike Flynn said, “The increase in the number of birds arriving with us is very concerning. There have been confirmed cases of bird flu infecting commercial poultry in Orkney but this has now been managed and there is no longer a threat.

“Recent reports confirmed avian influenza had infected kept gamebirds near Leven, Glenrothes. The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) is managing the situation and in order to limit the further spread of the disease, appropriate restrictions have been imposed and the remaining birds will be humanely culled under the Animal Health Act 1981. 

“We would like to remind members of the public that the majority of cases of bird flu are being seen in migratory birds and as long as the mandatory precautions are followed for domestic and commercial poultry, the risk of incursion remains at a medium level for poultry with high biosecurity. The risk is high for poultry with poor biosecurity.

“Should anyone discover a group of deceased birds; this could mean they died after being infected with bird flu. If you find a single dead bird of prey, gull or wildfowl species, particularly wild geese, wild ducks, swans, or find five or more birds of any other species in the same location and at the same time, please report these incidents to Defra’s national telephone helpline on 03459 33 55 77 and select option seven.”

Abandoning an animal is an offence under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006. Anyone found guilty of doing so can expect to be banned from keeping animals for a fixed period or life.


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