Report of the Service Director, Economy Innovation and Growth
The Committee received a report on the seasonal threat and the response from the five local authorities within the region from avian flu. This is another area which Trading Standards would deal with and it is a notifiable animal disease which can affect many birds. It can also affect humans and other mammals.
All bird keepers (whether they have pet birds, commercial flocks or just a few birds in a backyard flock) must keep a close watch on them for signs of disease and maintain good biosecurity at all times. If anyone has any concerns about the health of their birds, they should seek prompt advice from their vet.
Individuals keeping birds should register their poultry, even if only kept as pets, so that they can be contacted during an outbreak. This is a legal requirement if anyone has 50 or more birds. Poultry includes chickens, ducks, turkeys, geese, pigeon (bred for meat), partridge, quail, guinea fowl and pheasants.
An Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) has been in force across Great Britain since 3 November 2021 and in Northern Ireland since 17 November 2021. Mandatory housing measures for poultry and captive birds were introduced on the 29 November 2021 and ended on Monday 2 May 2022. However, the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) remains in force across the UK until further notice, with only the housing measures component being lifted. This means while birds are allowed to range outside it remains a legal requirement for all bird keepers across the UK (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.
The risk of incursion of highly pathogenic (HPAI) avian influenza H5 in wild birds in Great Britain has reduced from very high to high. With the risk of poultry exposure to HPAI H5 in Great Britain has reduced from medium (with low uncertainty) to low (with high uncertainty) where good biosecurity is applied and has reduced from high (with low uncertainty) to medium (with high uncertainty) where biosecurity is suboptimal.
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has said that avian influenza is primarily a disease of birds and the risk to the general public’s health is very low. The Food Standards Agency has said that on the basis of the current scientific evidence, avian influenza poses a very low food safety risk for UK consumers. Properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat.
During the outbreak, officers have continued to work closely with a range of partners including poultry keepers, small-holdings, urban farms, and allotment societies to ensure that the biosecurity measures around avian flu are being closely adhered to. Officers have also had to deal with the full ramifications of three confirmed outbreaks.
Avian Flu was confirmed in birds at premises near Washington, Sunderland on 11 December 2021. Following a risk assessment a 3 km Captive Bird (Monitoring) Controlled Zone was put in place surrounding the premises.
Following successful completes of disease control activities and surveillance within the disease control zone surrounding this premises, the 3km captive bird (Monitoring) controlled zone has been revoked.
Highly pathogenic avian flue was confirmed in birds at premises near Byker, Newcastle upon Tyne on the 25 January 2022. A 3km protection zone and 10km surveillance zone was put in place around the premises. All poultry on the suspect premises have been humanely culled. Following successful completion of disease control zones surrounding the premises the 3km protection zone has ended and the 10km surveillance zone has been revoked.
Highly pathogenic avian flu was confirmed in a small poultry flock at a premises near Blaydon, Gateshead on 23 February 2022. A 3km protection zone and 10km surveillance zone was put in place around the premises. Birds on the infected premises have been humanely culled.
Following successful completion of disease control activities and surveillance within the disease control zones surround this premises the 3km protection zone has ended and the 10km surveillance zone has been revoked.
RESOLVED - that the information presented be noted.