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Hebrides News


Measures aimed to keep chickens away from wild birds to reduce their risk of being infected with the “highly pathogenic” H5N8 strain by migratory wildfowl and gulls.

Bird keepers in all areas of Scotland were obliged to have enhanced biosecurity prior to letting their birds outside, in order to reduce the risk of disease.

The ban on shows and gatherings of poultry, waterfowl and game birds will remain in force until 15 May, when a new general licence will come into force.

Even when a ban on poultry roaming outdoors was eased, many keepers opted not to do so.

Rural Economy Secretary, Fergus Ewing, said a veterinary risk assessment concluded the risk had decreased to low.

Mr Ewing said: “This has been a testing time for all of us, and I would like to thank all bird keepers in Scotland for their co-operation and vigilance. Your positive and committed response has helped us reach this point.”

Scotland’s chief veterinary officer, Sheila Voas, said: “It is a relief to see that the risk of HPAI H5N8 in Scotland has reduced, but this does not mean we should be complacent; the risk of avian influenza has not disappeared.  

“It is essential that bird keepers maintain effective biosecurity year-round, not just when a prevention zone is in place.  

“All bird keepers should consider maintaining excellent biosecurity practices like washing boots and equipment with approved disinfectant, implementing effective rodent control, minimizing unnecessary visitors and reducing their flock’s contact with wild birds.”

Bird flu control measures to be lifted

29  April 2017

The avian influenza prevention zone covering Scotland will be lifted at midnight tonight, the Scottish Government has said.

Restrictions were temporarily introduced following a heightened risk over bird flu.