Defra unveils compulsory registration plan to help manage future outbreaks

21st March 2024
Industry News

New rules that will require all bird keepers to register their flocks have been announced by Defra today (19 March).

Officials say the measures, which will apply across Great Britain from this autumn, will support the management of future disease outbreaks and enable any restrictions to be lifted more quickly.

The move follows a consultation exercise that was launched last year in the wake of the UK’s worst avian influenza outbreak.

More than 360 cases have been recorded across Britain since the autumn of 2021 and the department said a “significant” proportion of them were in backyard flocks.

Legal deadline

UK CVO Christine Middlemiss said: “These new rules will enable us to have a full picture of the number and location of birds kept across Great Britain, making it easier to track and manage the spread of avian disease.

“This information will be vital in helping to inform future risk assessments and maintain our commitment to continually building our extensive avian influenza research portfolio.”

Under current rules, only flocks of 50 or more poultry have to be registered, though smaller groups can be registered voluntarily.

Owners in England and Wales are being urged to register ahead of the legal deadline on 1 October, while the department said their Scottish counterparts should do so from 1 September.

Disease control

Keepers will be required to provide details of the birds, where they are kept and contact details, as well as updating the information annually.

The department said that would enable all keepers within a disease control zone to be identified and more effective surveillance during outbreaks.

British Poultry Council chief executive Richard Griffiths said the measures were “a good step towards supporting birdkeepers and Government to collaborate seamlessly to combat disease spread”.

He added: “Timely communication ensures all birdkeepers receive important updates and stay informed, amplifying efforts to work together to track and control the spread of avian influenza.

“Alongside stringent biosecurity measures, registration is another tool in the toolbox to safeguard bird health.”


Credit to:  Defra unveils compulsory registration plan to help manage future outbreaks (Vet Times)

Vet Times. (2023).  Defra unveils compulsory registration plan to help manage future outbreaks [online]

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