The Game Farmers' Association
....representing the UK's game farmers & promoting high standards
The Game Farmers' Association (GFA) this week showed Defra round a game farm in the Home Counties where the main issue under discussion was the prevention of Bird Flu.read more »
The visitors were from Defra and the Animal and Plant Health Agency, which together work to keep the country free from Bird Flu and oversee its eradication when outbreaks occur.
Bird Flu is a notifiable disease currently circulating world-wide in various forms. It can affect all birds, captive or wild, and is often fatal, costing bird farmers dearly. Outbreaks impact on trade and some strains can also pass to humans, although this is rare. The Government has strict rules for eradication and for keeping birds in ways that reduce the risk of outbreaks.
The visit was an opportunity to build on the excellent cooperation that exists between Government and the gamebird sector. Discussion subjects included the restrictions that can apply on game farms during outbreaks and also best practice for keeping pheasants through the winter for egg production.
A GFA spokesman said, "This was a valuable 'peacetime' visit to review the overall disease situation and the often complex regulations that apply. It was also useful for more Government officials to see first-hand a game farm in operation and the measures that are constantly in place to minimise infection."
There has been an outbreak of H5N8 bird flu in a small backyard flock of chickens and geese, near Diss in South Norfolk. DEFRA published an order on the evening of Saturday 3 June confirming the outbreak and putting in place a 3km Protection Zone and a 10km Surveillance Zone.
No game birds can be released within the zones and any bir movements into, within and from the zones have to be licensed by a Government veterinary inspector. All kept birds must either be housed or otherwise separated from wild birds. The regulations also require careful record keeping in relation to all bird movements and vistors.
The Order, which includes a map showing where the outbreak and the zones are located, is on the Gov.UK website via this link Declaration of a Protection Zone and a Surveillance Zone (Avian Influenza).read more »
Information on Bird Flu and Gamebirds was issues by the Government and seven leading game and countryside organisations on 3 March 2017. It includes explanation about how to separate kept birds from wild birds. You can read the information by clicking Revised Advice on Bird Flu and Gamebirds.
We will keep this area of the GFA website up to date with evolving news. In the meantime, all gamebird keepers are urged to be vigilant, to practice best possible biosecurity and to heed all the rules on record keeping and biosecurity in relation to the managment and, in particular, the movement of any kept birds.
The GFA Game Farming Guide contains further relevant information for members in the sections on Notifiable Diseases and Animal Transport.