Bird flu housing order to be lifted in Northern Ireland

time:2023-06-09 06:57:52source:BBC News (British Broadcasting Corporation) author:Press center5

Bird flu restrictions in Northern Ireland requiring poultry and captive birds to be kept indoors are to be lifted next week.

The measures were introduced in November last year to curb the spread of avian influenza.

On Thursday, Stormont's Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) said poultry no longer need to be kept indoors as of 18 April.

Enhanced biosecurity measures, however, remain in place.

Poultry gatherings are still banned, the department said.

In a statement DAERA said: "Those who intend to allow their birds outside after 18 April are advised to use the upcoming days to prepare their outside areas for the release of their birds.

"This will include cleansing and disinfection of hard surfaces, fencing off ponds or standing water and reintroduction of wild bird deterrents".

The measures were introduced following a rise in cases across Great Britain and Ireland in 2022.

In October last year, DAERA introduced the stricter biosecurity measures for owners in Northern Ireland.

These included preventing wild birds having access to the same food and water as poultry or captive birds, and mandatory rules on cleansing and disinfection.

Then, the department introduced the mandatory housing order - similar to moves in England and Wales and the Republic of Ireland - in November, to further curb the spread of avian flu.

The UK has seen more than 330 cases confirmed and 4 million birds culled over the past year.

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