On 10 April the UK Chief Veterinary Officer announced that from 13 April, housing or range netting would no longer be required in Higher Risk Areas. This decision was taken on the basis of the latest veterinary advice and scientific evidence which concluded that the level of risk to poultry in the Higher Risk Areas has now reduced to the same level as that across the rest of England.
The Avian Influenza Prevention Zone has been updated to reflect this change. All poultry keepers in England (whether they have commercial flocks or just a few birds in a backyard flock) are required by law to take a range of biosecurity precautions. These include minimising movement in and out of bird enclosures, cleaning footwear, keeping areas where birds live clean and tidy and feeding birds indoors.
A ban on poultry gatherings remains in place across the UK. This applies to birds including chickens, turkeys, ducks and geese, and restricts events such as livestock fairs, auctions and bird shows. Advice on rearing game birds and shooting while the Prevention Zone is in force is available from The National Gamekeepers Organisation. All disease control measures will be kept under review based on the latest situation and up-to-date scientific advice.
All egg producers in England can now let birds outside provided they observe strict disease prevention measures. All eggs from birds that remain housed, from both inside and outside higher risk areas, are no longer considered to be free range and must not be labelled as such.
Follow this link for the full DEFRA update.