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Avian Influenza

Volume 401: debated on Tuesday 18 March 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps farmers can take to improve biosecurity to prevent Avian Influenza. [102368]

In view of the current outbreak of Avian Influenza in the Netherlands, Defra is advising producers to take all reasonable precautions to prevent their flocks coming into contact with wild birds. The producers most at risk are those close to where wild birds congregate, such as surface water.The poultry industry is being reminded of the need for stringent biosecurity at the present time. This includes advice on:

minimising the risk of introducing disease into their birds through faecal contamination of boots, clothing, equipment and food stores by the prudent use of disinfectants on clothing, footwear and vehicles;
ensuring that the number of staff with access to the birds is kept to a minimum and not allowing non-essential visitors in or near poultry houses;
clearing up external feed spillages quickly and preventing wild birds from gaining access to poultry areas and food.

Such advice will be kept under review in the light of developments.