Submitted by Steve on 17:10, 5th Jan, 2017 | 0

Just over a month ago the States Vet issued advice regarding Avian Flu precautions in Guernsey.

Yesterday the following information was initiated by Animal and Plant Health Agency APHA in the UK.

'In response to the continued, heightened risk of H5N8 highly pathogenic avian influenza, the existing Avian Influenza Prevention Zones will remain in force until 28 February. Poultry and captive bird keepers must continue to house their birds, where practicable, maintain their biosecurity and keep a close watch on the health of their birds. The Zones cover the whole of England, Scotland and Wales. In light of recent, confirmed cases of H5N8 in Great Britain, the extension of this order is a precautionary measure to help prevent infection from wild birds. The ban on poultry gatherings is still in place and will be reviewed according to the level of risk. Further details, including the measures applying in the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone, can be found at gov.uk, gov.scot and gov.wales. Contact apha.corporatecommunications@apha.gsi.gov.uk for more information.'

With concerns over Avian Flu the Guernsey States Vet issued this statement last month -

'As many of you are aware there have been many outbreaks of avian influenza (bird flu) across Europe reported last weekend (3rd/4th Dec). No outbreaks have been reported in the U.K. yet. The outbreaks have occurred as a consequence of wild birds flying south to avoid cold weather in the north. The U.K.'s Chief Vet has advised poultry keepers to take measures to avoid their flocks coming into contact with wild birds and therefore avoiding cross infection. If birds could be housed without compromising their welfare then they should be. In some situations this is not practical but keepers should take measures to avoid wild birds sharing feeding and watering stations of domestic birds. Domestic birds kept in pens should have their pens covered to prevent wild bird droppings from entering pens. Ducks and geese should be housed at night where possible. Bird gatherings such as shows carry a risk of cross infection so the organisers and attendees of shows such as their Guernsey Fanciers Poultry Show on the 10th December will need to consider how to control this risk. Similarly the organisers of the National Federation of Poultry Clubs Championship Show on the 17th and 18th December will need to consider the risks of going ahead. Turkey farmers will particularly be nervous as this is their busiest time of the year and their investment has a narrow window in which to get to market. There is a lot of information on the UK Government website regarding symptoms in domestic and wild birds. If keepers are concerned about their livestock they should contact their own private vets.'

The State Vets has now issued this information in light of the continued UK restrictions -

'In light of recent, confirmed cases of H5N8 in Great Britain, the extension of this order is a precautionary measure to help prevent infection from wild birds. The ban on poultry gatherings is still in place and will be reviewed according to the level of risk.' Consequently my advice to poultry keepers in the Bailiwick of 16 December is unchanged and can be found by following this link: https://gov.gg/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=105210&p=0'

To visit the UK Defra website please go to - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/avian-influenza-bird-flu#prevention-zone

The GSPCA have been following the guidelines set as we have nearly 100 birds in our care and a number of outdoor aviaries.

With the fact we respond to sick and injured birds safety precautions are also being followed to reduce any potential risk.

The UK Defra link above has a host of information to help in a variety of circumstances.

To contact the Guernsey States Vet please visit - https://www.gov.gg/article/152118/Contact-Us---States-Veterinary-Officer

Steve Byrne GSPCA Manager said "With the continued potential risk of avian flu and following the announcements from the UK and the Guernsey States Vet we continue to follow all precautionary measures at the GSPCA as we care for 100's of birds."

"Avian or Bird flu is spread through direct contact with infected birds dead or alive, an infected bird's droppings, or secretions from their eyes or respiratory tract, close and prolonged contact with an infected bird is generally required for the infection to spread to humans."

"Although it is thought that the risk is low here in Guernsey it is important that we all do our bit to help ensure our birds and human life is safe here in Guernsey."

The GSPCA are very proud to announce that we have been awarded the Guernsey Community Foundation Charity of the Year.

There are so many amazing organisations, groups and individuals and to recognise these there are a number of upcoming awards. Could you nominate the GSPCA, one of our team or another worthy individual or cause? Please visit the links below

The Ceva Animal Welfare Awards are open, to nominate please visit -  http://www.cevawelfareawards.com/

Petplan and ADCH Animal Charity Awards - https://www.petplancharity.co.uk/pet-insurance/animal-charity-awards/

Specsavers Unsung Hero - http://www.awards.gg/copy-of-nominate-your-ambassador-of

Nominating a group for The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service, please visit - https://qavs.direct.gov.uk

Could you write us a review on the Best of Guernsey who run awards each year, if you could please visit - https://www.thebestof.co.uk/local/guernsey/business-guide/feature/gspca

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