Poultry owners across the UK forced to keep birds indoors to curb spread of avian flu

Over the last year, the United Kingdom has faced its largest ever outbreak of avian influenza with over 200 cases confirmed since late October 2021. Credit: PA images

Poultry keepers across Cumbria are being reminded they'll need to keep their birds indoors by law from next week.

The measures are being brought in by the UK's Chief Veterinary Officer after avian influenza, or bird flu, was detected at over 70 premises across England, as well as multiple reports in wild birds.

Over the last year, the country has faced its largest ever outbreak of the disease with over 200 cases confirmed since late October 2021.

The United Kingdom’s 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 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."

She continued: "Scrupulous biosecurity and separating flocks in all ways, from wild birds remain the best form of defence.

"Whether you keep just a few birds or thousands, from Monday 7 November onwards you must keep your indoors.

"This decision has not been taken lightly, but is the best way to protect your birds from this highly infectious disease."

The UK Health Security Agency continues to advise that the risk to public health is very low and the Food Standards Agency advice remains unchanged - that avian influenzas poses a very low food safety risk for UK consumers.

Properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat. 

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