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Avian welfare
Mass mortality of starlings in Somerset
  1. Alex Barlow1 and
  2. Alison Sparkes2
  1. 1AHVLA Wildlife Group, GB Wildlife Disease Surveillance Partnership, Langford House, Langford, Somerset BS40 5DX
  2. 2 RSPCA West Hatch Wildlife Centre, West Hatch, Taunton TA3 5RT

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WE would like to report a further case of mass mortality in starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) in response to correspondence by Duff (VR, December 21/28, 2013, vol 173, pp 613-614) and Roberts (VR, January 25, 2014, vol 174, pp 101-102). This episode was widely reported by the local, national and international media. It was investigated as a mass mortality incident under the VLA (now AHVLA) avian influenza wild bird surveillance (AIWBS) project and the Diseases of Wildlife Scheme, in association with the local RSPCA.

In the context of the current AIWBS programme in Great Britain, mass mortality incidents are defined as reports of five or more dead wild birds of any species found dead at any location in Great Britain. Carcases are submitted to AHVLA or SRUC regional laboratories for …

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