The Department of Agriculture, Environment, and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has lifted the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) and lifted the prohibition on poultry gatherings in Northern Ireland. This development brings relief to farmers in Northern Ireland, but it is important to note that the AIPZ will continue to be enforced for producers in Great Britain.
The Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) has been enforced in Northern Ireland since October 17th, 2023 and the most recent Veterinary Risk Assessment (VRA) conducted in Northern Ireland indicates a low risk of a Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) outbreak within the poultry flock. It is important to note that even though the risk is deemed low, it does not eliminate the possibility of an HPAI outbreak. Avian influenza remains a present threat that can potentially spread throughout Northern Ireland and other regions.
The assessment of lifting the remaining Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) measures in other areas of the United Kingdom is ongoing and poultry keepers throughout the country need to stay cautious and watch for any signs of the disease, even during the summer season, as there were three reported cases of H5N1 in the UK in May. Maintaining meticulous biosecurity measures is crucial as it serves as the most effective defence in minimising the risk of avian influenza transmission to both poultry and other captive birds.
DAERA has shared an updated General Licence for bird gatherings, effective from the 2nd June 2023, here.
There have been no positive cases of avian influenza in poultry in Northern Ireland since the confirmation at a small holding (in Enniskillen), took place in early February 2022.
DAERA’s Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO), Robert Huey stated: “Thanks to the determined efforts from the poultry sector in Northern Ireland to protect their flocks and minimise the impact of disease, we are now in a position to lift the AIPZ and reduce all mandatory restrictions placed on bird keepers. I’m sure this will be welcome news for the sector which contributes greatly to our economy and wider society.”
“Although all mandatory restrictions have now been lifted, the biosecurity requirements set out for the AIPZ should still be considered good practice. We are urging all bird keepers, whether they have a few birds or thousands, to adhere to the guidance as much as is practically possible.”
How to prepare for the lifting of the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone
Our biosecurity advisory service goes beyond compliance with recommended standards from assurance schemes, chemical companies, or pharma. It offers a personalised approach tailored to your specific needs. Beginning with an advisory visit, we conduct a comprehensive assessment to identify the most significant biosecurity risks. We document the existing risks and outline the ideal “best in class” prevention measures. Our expert team then provides actionable recommendations to implement our knowledge effectively.
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For more information, contact the Livetec Biosecurity Advisory Service team today by clicking here.
Introducing the National Outbreak Plan
The National Outbreak Plan (NOP) comprises instructions for recognising and officially declaring a disease outbreak, effectively navigating regulatory frameworks and laws, handling media communications, and successfully manoeuvring through imposed restrictions. The NOP provides:
- A how-to guide for disease declaration
- Information reporting when zones are implemented
- Explanation of movement restrictions
- Movement licensing and their conditions of use
- Zone definitions and their requirements
- How to deal with the media
- Farming related support services and mental health planning
- A guide on how to change or update your CPH number
- Updates of the Governments exotic diseases control and AI policy
- An acronym glossary to quickly define key terms
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