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UK’s chief veterinary officer orders bird and poultry owners across England to keep flocks indoors as bird flu cases soar
31 October 2022, 14:46 | Updated: 31 October 2022, 15:27
The UK's chief veterinary officer has ordered all captive birds and poultry in England to be kept indoors from next week, as cases of bird flu soar across the country.
The move extends existing regional orders, with the newly implemented regulations now set to encompass the whole of England from next week.
It comes as the threat to wild birds from the avian strain was raised to 'very high'.
Chief veterinary officer, Christine Middlemiss, said: "We are now facing this year the largest ever outbreak of bird flu and are seeing rapid escalation in the number of cases on commercial farms and in backyard birds across England."
The measures are set to affect all bird owners - whether in possession of tens or thousands of birds.
It comes as more than 5,000 turkeys were destroyed at a farm in Lincolnshire following an outbreak of bird flu, with the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) imposing a 1.9 mile protection zone around the farm.
"The risk of kept birds being exposed to disease has reached a point where it is now necessary for all birds to be housed until further notice," continued Ms Middlemiss.
Adding: "Scrupulous biosecurity and separating flocks in all ways from wild birds remain the best form of defence."
The new rules come into force at one minute past midnight on Monday, 7 November.
The mandatory bird and poultry housing measures make it a legal requirement to contain flocks indoors, following strict biosafety protocols to ensure flocks remain free from disease.
The upgrading of threat levels to 'very high' two weeks ago means the whole of Great Britain has been made a bird flu prevention zone.
It's worth noting that cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, remain safe to eat.