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Is it me or is DEFRA's logic flawed re Avian Flu?

solarbatssolarbats Senior Member
edited January 2017 in Poultry Health and Welfare

Please have a read and let us know what you think pet poultry owners.

The flawed logic of Defra regarding the avian flu scare

 “The avian influenza virus changes frequently, creating new strains, and there is a constant risk that one of the new strains may spread easily among people. But there is no evidence that any recent strain of avian influenza has been able to spread directly between people.” 

The rest of Europe is apparently rife with Avian Flu, and it's not just birds that migrate. What precautions are taking place at airports, ports and docks? Are ferry passengers and Channel Tunnel users being asked to dip their feet and cars into disinfectant? 

 “Public Health England advise that the risk to public health is very low. The Food Standards Agency say that bird flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.” 

Yet their knee-jerk response results in ignorant finger pointing towards pet poultry keepers because they just don’t fully understand the facts. I’ve spoken to poultry keepers whose neighbours have given them a hard time because they ‘don’t want to catch bird flu from their birds.’
Did you know that mice, rats, dogs and even fruit flies share more DNA with humans than chickens do? How would dog owners react if a similar virus hit dogs? Remember the pig flu scare? I wonder how many people died as a direct or indirect result of the medication given than the actual flu itself. 

“Backyard flocks
The Prevention Zones require all poultry and captive birds, including backyard flocks and other captive birds, to be housed or, where it is not practicable to do so, require steps to be taken to keep them separate from wild birds. If you keep your birds near your home, consider housing them in alternative accommodation, such as a garden building, a garage or redundant building that could be adapted to house them temporarily.
Remember to check for, and remove, hazardous and toxic substances such as rat bait, and make sure the birds have access to water and somewhere to perch. You must also practice good biosecurity - for example disinfecting footwear and equipment and washing clothing after contact with birds.” 

So let’s get this straight; poultry keepers have to keep their flocks in a confined space, increasing the chances of disease and infection, at a time when most owners are scarcely around during daylight hours to tend to all the biosecurity. Wouldn’t a well-managed free range flock be healthier and therefore more able to withstand any health threat?

 “You can still fly pigeons or birds of prey, but you should try to prevent them from making direct contact with (or catching) wildfowl. Keep a close watch on the health of your birds.”

Is it me, but this one beggars belief! Most people who fly birds of prey will tell you it’s not unusual for them to disappear for up to an hour. Who knows what they are killing and eating in that time?

“Game birds and shoots
Shoots have not been banned in the Prevention Zone.” 

So how does the shooter know that the bird his dog has retrieved wasn’t already dead, and one of several in that area; a reportable occurrence under Defra.

 ‘Breach of controls is an offence, with a penalty of up to £5,000 on summary conviction and up to 3 months’ imprisonment per offence.’

Blimey! Maybe poultry keepers should take up bank robbery for a hobby instead?! 

All this heavy handedness is only going to antagonise poultry keepers. When the time comes for pet birds to be culled (and it will happen; if not this time, then next) pet bird owners across the land will be hiding their birds away Anne Frank style because they love their pets, instead of trying to cooperate as best they can.
Defra – ask yourselves – with chickens now the sixth most popular pet (according to the pet food Manufacturer’s Association) what will the knock on effect be on the industries that supply all the feed and other supplies when you decide to start culling pet hens? 

And isn’t it convenient that the disease controls take us almost to the end of the government’s Christmas break? I can imagine the debates in Westminster: ‘Well old chaps, we need to make out we’re in control of the situation before we go off on our recess.’ 

It’s almost inevitable that avian flu will eventually hit the UK. Are the powers that be concentrating as much effort on contingency plans for this, or simply wondering who to irritate next?


  • undautriundautri Senior Member
    their logic re the birds of prey is defo flawed as one has been found in a Scotland with bird flu just yesterday -a peregrine falcon
    as for the pigeons - how come they arent a risk ? someone in the village keeps pigeons and lets them fly out every day over my garden  and how nice that game shoots havent been banned so upper classes can still have their fun  Christmas
    as usual - 2 rules for everything xx kath
  • solarbatssolarbats Senior Member
    And what about the tourist attractions with waterfowl?  I could go on ... :>
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