Farmed poultry are to be allowed outside, as DEFRA is removing the requirement to house them or enclose them with netting in high risk areas where bird flu has been reported. The relaxed rules are effective from 13 April. DEFRA said the decision was evidence based, taking into account changes in the wild bird population. Bird gatherings including livestock fairs and auctions are still banned. However, this rule does not apply to shoots, as game birds are classified as wild once they have been released.
Everyone who has contact with poultry or wild birds is encouraged to follow government guidance to minimise the risk of the disease spreading. Shooters remain an important part of the effort to control bird flu, as current guidelines call for keepers to “implement effective vermin control procedures around buildings where poultry or captive birds are kept.” Additionally, keepers and wildfowlers are well placed to spot the signs of the disease in wild birds. Anyone finding a dead wild bird should report it to the DEFRA helpline on 03459 335577.
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