Poultry Red Tractor Assurance scheme members have been reminded that biosecurity continues to be of the utmost importance with the ongoing circulation of the high pathogen strain of avian influenza circulating in England and Wales.
Biosecurity standards on assured farms were strengthened in 2014 and will help to prevent the spread of the virus, according to an article in the Read Tractor Assurance’s members’ magazine Climb Aboard.
It added that further revisions included in the most recent consultation for implementation later this year would also enhance biosecurity measures. The consultation, which ran from October to the end of December, has looked at tightening access to units by people and visitors and their impact on biosecurity.
The NFU has reminded backyard flock keepers that all flocks are still at risk from avian influenza. It has produced a guide stressing that if they have birds in a Higher Risk Area (HRA) they have by law to keep birds housed or otherwise separate from wild birds.
Birds could be either housed in a shed or outbuilding adapted to their needs, a temporary structure such as a poly-tunnel or in a fully fenced run covered by netting.
If the flock is larger than 500 birds in an HRA producers need to undertake additional biosecurity measures, including limiting access to the birds, disinfecting vehicles entering the bird’s enclosure and implementing appropriate biosecure facilities.
The advice comes as Defra announced on 29 March that it was lifting some of the restrictions around a backyard flock near Haltwhistle, Cumbria that was hit by the H5N8 avian influenza strain.
Government vets confirmed that a 10km Surveillance Zone put in place around the infected premises to limit the risk of the disease spreading had been removed.
Further information on the NFU advice can be found at NFU