Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales, and Trefnydd
Surveillance of avian influenza suggests a heightened risk of disease for Wales over the winter months. Therefore, new compulsory biosecurity and housing requirements will be introduced for poultry and captive birds in Wales. These steps are being taken to protect against a likely increased amount of avian influenza virus in the environment and to build extra resilience on the important measures introduced in October through the Wales Avian Influenza Prevention Zone. They will come into force across Wales on Friday, 2 December.
From this date, it will be a legal requirement for all keepers to keep their birds indoors or otherwise separated from wild birds. All keepers must also complete and act upon a bespoke biosecurity review of the premises where birds are kept. This is to minimise the risk of virus entry in bird houses, which usually results in high mortality. These new measures are in addition to those in the Wales Avian Influenza Prevention Zone, which remain crucially important.
Bird keepers are encouraged to prepare for the introduction of the new measures, by making sure housing is suitable, with the housed environment enhanced to protect bird welfare. Keepers are advised to consult their vet for advice, where needed.
Housing is effective in protecting birds against avian influenza only if accompanied by rigorous biosecurity to keep the virus out of bird houses. The completion of a biosecurity checklist, which will be compulsory for all keepers, has been designed to ensure effective biosecurity. The measures we are introducing in Wales will provide additional protection for birds and resilience for our poultry sector. We will continue to keep the situation under constant review.