Bishop of Exeter asks about control of avian influenza virus

The Bishop of Exeter received the following written answer on 13th March 2023:

The Lord Bishop of Exeter asked His Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to prevent the spread of the H5N1 virus.

Lord Benyon (Con): Defra’s approach to avian influenza disease control considers the latest scientific and ornithological evidence and veterinary advice and is set out in the Notifiable Avian Disease Control Strategy for Great Britain(opens in a new tab), supported by the Mitigation Strategy for Avian Influenza in Wild Birds in England and Wales(opens in a new tab). Current policy reflects our experience of responding to past outbreaks of exotic animal disease and is in line with international standards of best practice for disease control. In summary swift and humane culling of poultry and other captive birds on infected premises, coupled with rigorous biosecurity, are used to prevent the amplification of avian influenza and minimise the risk of disease spread from infected premises

In addition, to help stop the spread of avian influenza, Avian Influenza Prevention Zones (AIPZs) are in force across the UK. Mandatory housing measures are also in force as an additional requirement of the AIPZs in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. For areas where an AIPZ is in force it is a legal requirement for all bird keepers (whether they have pet birds, commercial flocks or just a few birds in a backyard flock) to follow strict biosecurity measures to limit the spread of and eradicate the disease, including where mandatory housing measures are a requirement of an AIPZ in force, to keep their birds housed. The enhanced AIPZ biosecurity measures, mandatory housing measures, in addition to a prohibition on poultry gatherings, have been vital in preventing spread and protecting flocks across the country from avian influenza.


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