Scottish Government orders birds to be kept indoors following concern over bird flu
Scottish Government declares Avian Influenza Prevention Zone as a precaution
Chickens - credit: Fotolia
An alert over bird flu has led the Scottish Government to order all poultry in Scotland to be kept indoors.
Although there have been no cases of bird flu in the UK, recent deaths in mainland Europe have led the Scottish Government to declare an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone as a precaution, with authorities in England and Wales taking similar action.
The measures, which will last for 30 days, require all bird owners to "take all practicable steps to ensure that poultry and other captive birds kept separate from wild birds”.
Rural affairs secretary Fergus Ewing said: “We have declared a 30-day prevention zone as a precautionary measure to protect Scotland's valuable poultry industry, particularly in the weeks before Christmas.
“It is important to stress that there has been no cases of this strain detected in the UK.
“The Scottish government and its partners continue to monitor the situation in Europe closely and stand ready to respond to any suspicion of disease in Scotland.”
Chief veterinary officer Sheila Voas said the risk remains low, but had increased.
She said: “It is normal to see these viruses circulating among wild bird populations at this time of year, however the strain seen in Europe appears to be particularly virulent which is a cause for some concern.
“Keeping birds indoors helps to reduce the risk of exposure to the virus, provided that poultry keepers maintain good biosecurity on their premises and remain vigilant for any signs of disease.
“Consumers should not be concerned about eating eggs or poultry given the expert advice about food safety and human health.”
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