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Volume 470: debated on Wednesday 23 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how the Government plans to use the data held on the GB Poultry Register to prevent the spread of avian influenza. (177654)

The GB Poultry Register was created in response to an increased threat of an outbreak of the highly pathogenic strain of avian influenza (Al). It captures details of all those premises that keep 50 or more birds (even if the premises is only stocked for part of the year), with details of the location, numbers and types of birds kept and some relevant risk factors.

These data have helped to manage the risk of Al in a number of ways, and have enabled us to:

i. predict the likely spread of disease and therefore respond proportionately in an outbreak;

ii. plan and prioritise veterinary visits to control Al outbreaks in areas close to infected premises; and

iii. communicate information and advice to registered poultry keepers quickly.

We are currently consulting on a range of possible changes to the use of personal data held on the GB Poultry Register; for example, the use for other notifiable diseases. The consultation closes on 5 February 2008 and full details are available on the DEFRA website.