Bird flu crackdown as Yorkshire council urges public to report sightings

Bird keepers across the country have been placed on high alert following the outbreak of bird flu in Dorset and Warwickshire.
Bird keepers across the country have been placed on high alert following the outbreak of bird flu in Dorset and Warwickshire.
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Leeds residents are being urged to report any sightings of dead wild birds as part of national attempts to control the spread of bird flu.

In the latest outbreak of the virus, bird flu was confirmed in 13 dead wild birds in Warwickshire last week, while 31 wild birds were identified as carrying the disease in Dorset.

The Government has reacted by declaring a bird flu prevention zone across the whole of England.

This means all bird keepers are legally required to follow strict biosecurity measures.

The Government’s chief veterinary officer Nigel Gibbens said: “Following the latest finding of bird flu in wild birds in Warwickshire, we are extending our action to help prevent the virus spreading to poultry and other domestic birds.

“Whether you keep just a few birds or thousands, you are now legally required to meet enhanced biosecurity requirements and this is in your interests to do, to protect your birds from this highly infectious virus.”

Leeds Council’s resilience and emergencies team took to Twitter this morning to remind local birdkeepers about the increased biosecurity measures, adding: “If you find dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks) or other dead wild birds, such as gulls or birds of prey, you should report them to the Defra helpline 03459 33 55 77.”

Testing of the birds found in Warwickshire is ongoing, however, it is highly expected that this will be the same H5N6 strain of the virus which has been circulating in wild birds across Europe in recent months.

Public Health England has advised that the risk of the disease to public health remains very low and the Food Standards Agency have said that bird flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.