The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) is urging poultry keepers to adhere to the new housing measures coming into effect on 23 December in Northern Ireland, following the detection of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in seven wild birds across Northern Ireland (NI) in recent weeks.
The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) Minister Edwin Poots announced last week that new housing measures are to be introduced as part of the AI prevention zone in NI. A housing order is already in place in England, Scotland and Wales.
UFU deputy president, William Irvine said, “The UFU are aware of the Avian Influenza cases that have been detected across NI. We have been engaging DAERA and the poultry industry over the last number of weeks to put in place measures that will limit the spread of Avian Influenza. I would like to remind members that it is a legal requirement for all flocks, both large and small to comply with the new housing measures which come into effect from 23 December. Failure to do so may result in enforced action being taken. I urge all poultry keepers to review their biosecurity measures and business continuity plans immediately to protect their own flock and help safeguard the NI poultry industry.
“To reduce the risk of infection in poultry, maintaining high levels of biosecurity and practicing good farm hygiene at all times is essential. It is important that poultry keepers make use of all the help and services that are available to them to protect their poultry business. I urge producers to make themselves familiar with DAERA’s guidance on good biosecurity and there is a text alert service which they can sign up to. To subscribe to the text alert service, text BIRDS to 67300. DAERA have also developed a biosecurity self-assessment tool on their website to assist all bird keepers in complying with the new rules. If producers have any suspicion of disease in their flock, they should contact their vet or local divisional veterinary office immediately,” said Irvine.