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UK Govt. confirms Turkey culling operation complete

by 5m Editor
6 February 2007, at 9:26am

UK - Defra's Deputy Chief Veterinary Officer Fred Landeg has confirmed that at 20.36 on Monday 5 February the culling operation was completed.

He said, "I am thankful for the efforts of all involved in the culling operation and the swiftness with which this large process was carried out."

Environment Secretary David Miliband has made a statement to Parliament about the Government’s response to the outbreak of avian influenza at a poultry farm in Suffolk.

The State Veterinary Service was contacted by a private vet who suspected an avian notifiable disease. Poultry found dead on the farm was found to contain the highly pathogenic Asian strain of the H5N1 avian flu virus.

Mr Miliband described the legal restrictions in place in the area around the farm, and reported that the humane slaughter of the remaining birds on the farm should be completed today (5 February). He referred to Defra’s contingency plans, which are updated regularly and available on Defra’s website:

“Thus far they have proven their worth,” he said. “Our goals are clear: to stamp out the disease, to protect public health, to protect animal heath and welfare, and to regain disease free status in the UK.

“I would like to record my thanks to all those who have worked so hard since Thursday evening from across government departments, delivery partners and the poultry industry at the local, regional and national level, to help achieve these goals as soon as possible.”

Helpline

If you need advice on avian flu please call the Defra Helpline - 08459 33 55 77 (8.30am - 8.00pm 7 days a week) - and choose the avian influenza option.

If you find dead wild gulls, waders, ducks, geese or swans and you are within a survey area or are unsure whether you are in a surveillance area (targeted surveillance for avian influenza viruses in wild birds is ongoing) you may wish to contact the Defra Helpline (as above) and choose the avian influenza option, or check the map on the avian influenza pages on this website (see link below).

Legal restrictions around the farm and more widely

A Protection Zone of three kilometres radius and a Surveillance Zone of ten kilometres have been established around the premises: movement restrictions are imposed and poultry must be isolated from wild birds. A wider Restricted Zone has also been imposed, covering east Suffolk and South East Norfolk bounded to the west and the north by the A140 and A47 respectively, an area of approximately 2090sqkm. It requires the isolation of poultry from wild birds, and requires movements to be licensed. As further information becomes available the restrictions in place may be adjusted.

To find out if your premises are in any of the zones, use the interactive map on this site - see link, below.

Some movements restricted under the current rules may now be allowed (subject to specific conditions) - see the link to "General Movement Licences", below. For all other moves, application should be made to the local Animal Health Office.

All bird gatherings - including shows, markets and fairs, and pigeon races - have been banned nationwide (throughout England, Scotland and Wales) until further notice (this will be kept under review as the disease situation develops).

Public health and advice to keepers of birds

There is no reason for public health concern. Avian influenza is a disease of birds and whilst it can pass very rarely and with difficulty to humans, this requires extremely close contact with infected birds, particularly faeces. Advice from the Food Standards Agency remains that properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat.

Keepers of birds are urged to be vigilant and to exercise good biosecurity. Any owners that suspect disease should act quickly and consult their vet. Avian influenza is a notifiable disease and must be reported to the local Divisional Veterinary Manager in the State Veterinary Service (see below).

Further information from DEFRA

ThePoultrySite News Desk

5m Editor