Today, Thursday 9th March, King Charles will be visiting the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) in Weybridge to congratulate the scientists and staff for their work in combating avian influenza, in the wake of the largest ever outbreak in the UK, as well as their work to support Ukrainian refugee pet travel.
Avian influenza in the UK
Since the 1st October 2022, the UK has seen over 170 outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1. In October alone, a staggering 85 outbreaks were declared on a range of premises across the UK, not including the cases found in wild birds, and recently mammals.
There is no cure for avian influenza, which can achieve a 99% mortality rate in chickens, meaning that the strongest line of defence against the disease is prevention through strict biosecurity.
Working with APHA
In a press release from the the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and APHA, it said “APHA’s world-leading scientists and staff have played [a] vital role in supporting avian influenza diagnostics and disease control. Their work to tackle the outbreak helps protect animal and public health but also supports our international trading relationships.”
Prior to the visit, Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Christine Middlemiss also added that “Today’s visit really is about recognising the last 18 months of remarkable work and the APHA staff who have worked day in and day out to help control and manage the spread of avian influenza.”
These past few years, and particularly the last eight months have been increasingly worrying for poultry farmers and keepers as the cost of avian influenza bears heavy on mental health and livelihoods.
Tackling outbreaks has long been something that APHA has been at the forefront of and is something that Livetec is honoured to be a part of. Our work has gone a long way to prevent outbreaks, using our contingency planning and biosecurity services, to being on-farm tackling the disease, with empathy.
Julian Sparrey, Technical Director of Livetec said that “We are pleased to support APHA with this crucial work and remain committed to working alongside them as a supportive partner, through what has, and continues to be an exceptionally challenging time.”
“The UK has some of the highest biosecurity standards in the world.”
As part of the rapid response to the outbreaks, APHA implemented an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) nationwide, and England, Wales, and Northern Ireland are also subject to mandatory housing measures. Within the AIPZ, heightened biosecurity protocols, applicable to all bird keepers become mandatory and are instrumental in safeguarding flocks from avian influenza throughout the country.
Livetec are industry leaders in on-farm biosecurity
Using our years of experience on-farm, and our evidence based research to underpin our unique biosecurity services, we are rapidly working towards the future of livestock protection and disease prevention.
Our extensive range of services and plans aim to minimise risks by identifying essential measures required to prevent deadly pathogens from entering a premises.
Our contingency planning service has demonstrated its effectiveness in Norfolk, a region with a high concentration of poultry farms severely affected by avian influenza. Despite the ongoing impact of this disease on local flocks, our contingency plan has played a critical role in preventing an outbreak to date. By doing so, we have also helped to mitigate the economic and emotional toll that such an outbreak can and does have.
Find out how our plans can protect your farm and livelihood, contact us here.