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UK Government consults on avian flu measures

by 5m Editor
14 February 2006, at 12:00am

UK - Views are being sought on the implementation of measures aimed at limiting and eradicating an outbreak of avian influenza - Defra announced today.

UK Government consults on avian flu measures - UK - Views are being sought on the implementation of measures aimed at limiting and eradicating an outbreak of avian influenza - Defra announced today.

The Avian Influenza Directive was recently adopted in Europe and now requires implementation into UK law. The Directive introduces new powers and disease surveillance measures including:

  • Allowing member states to slaughter birds found to have a low pathogenic strain of the virus and introduce movement controls around the affected area

  • Boosting surveillance for the disease with programmes for sampling of flocks

  • Introducing powers to restrict movements on suspicion of disease and national or regional movement restrictions after disease is confirmed

  • Allowing state vets to apply controls flexibly to keep industry operating in a biosecure way

  • Surveillance in pigs if they are found to be infected with the virus

  • Requiring Member States to keep a central register of commercial poultry keepers

Whilst the Directive maintains the basic strict requirements for notification of disease, slaughter and movement controls, for the first time it allows a flexible risk-based approach in response to individual situations. The Directive adds other new provisions such as surveillance of poultry for the low pathogenic strain of the AI virus and powers to control the low pathogenic strain if it is found.

Ben Bradshaw said:

‘The Avian Influenza Directive was successfully adopted last year under the UK's Presidency and updates the previous European controls. Here in the UK we are determined to be fully prepared for the possibility of this disease reaching us. We will therefore put in place legislation to implement the EU Avian Influenza Directive by mid Summer.

‘I would also like to take this opportunity to remind poultry owners to register their flock on the department's poultry database. By law you must register if you own or are responsible for a commercial poultry premises with 50 or more birds. At present, premises with fewer than 50 birds are not required to register but are encouraged to do so on a voluntary basis. Once owners have registered we will be able to contact them and help them manage any potential disease outbreak if it arises in the UK.'

Consultation on plans to implement Council Directive 2005/94/EC on the control of avian influenza

The new Directive for the control of avian influenza was adopted on 20 December 2005. The Directive maintains the basic strict requirements for notification of disease, slaughter and movement controls but allows for the first time a flexible risk-based approach in response to individual situations. It also adds other new provisions such as surveillance for poultry for the low pathogenic strain of the avian influenza virus and also allows for controls if this strain is found.

We are seeking comments on our plans for implementing the Directive in domestic legislation by Friday 28 April 2006.

Source: Defra - 14th February 2006

5m Editor