Bird shows banned in bid to combat spread of avian flu

Livestock fairs, auctions, shows and other events involving a gathering of poultry, game birds, ducks, geese or swans have been banned across Scotland, England and Wales.

Poultry must be kept away from wild birds. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Poultry must be kept away from wild birds. Picture: Ian Rutherford

The move follows the confirmation last week of the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N8 on a farm in Lincolnshire.

The Scottish Government said that the decision was part of a series of measures to reduce the likeliness of disease spread, in response to clear evidence that the virus is circulating in wild bird populations around Europe.

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Flu risk leads to order to keep all poultry indoors

Poultry keepers were also reminded that the avian influenza prevention zone declared across Scotland remains in force until 6 January – and that bird keepers should continue to keep their birds housed, or to take steps to ensure they are separated from wild birds.

Announcing the latest move, rural economy secretary Fergus Ewing said: “The arrival of H5N8 in the UK highlights how essential it is that bird keepers remain vigilant for signs of disease and comply with the requirements of the avian influenza prevention zone currently in place.

“I would urge bird keepers to review their biosecurity measures to ensure that they are doing everything they possibly can to protect their flocks.”

Scotland’s chief veterinary officer, Sheila Voas, added: “In response to the confirmed case it is important that we take appropriate steps to reduce the possible spread of disease. Suspending bird gatherings of high risk species is a proportionate way to reduce the likelihood of consequential spread, and further limit the chances of a multifocal outbreak occurring in Scotland.”