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Avian influenza
Defra lifts requirement to house poultry in ‘higher risk’ areas of England

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ALL free-range poultry in England are now allowed outside after a restriction requiring keepers in ‘higher risk’ areas to house or completely enclose their birds in netted areas was lifted.

The restriction was part of measures to protect poultry against H5N8 highly pathogenic avian influenza. It was lifted on April 13 following updated advice about the risk posed by wild birds.

All free-range poultry across England are now allowed outside after housing restrictions were lifted in higher risk areas

Nigel Gibbens, chief veterinary officer, said: ‘We continually review our disease control measures in light of new scientific evidence and veterinary advice. Based on the latest evidence on reduced numbers of migratory and resident aquatic wild birds we believe that kept birds in the areas we previously designated as higher risk are now at the same level of risk as the rest of England and may now be let outside.’

However, the risk of poultry becoming infected with H5N8 remains heightened and he reminded keepers that the avian influenza prevention zone remained in place.

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