The Scottish Government said it declared a Scotland-wide Avian Influenza Prevention Zone for 30 days requiring that all poultry and captive birds must be kept indoors “or otherwise kept separate from wild birds.”
This precautionary measure has been taken in response to reports of a strain of highly pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) H5N8 causing high mortality in wild birds in mainland Europe, mostly affecting waterfowl.
Fergus Ewing, Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy, said: “We have declared a 30-day Prevention Zone as a precautionary measure to protect Scotland’s valuable poultry industry, particularly in the weeks before Christmas …
“The Scottish Government and its partners continue to monitor the situation in Europe closely and stand ready to respond to any suspicion of disease in Scotland.”
Scotland’s Chief Veterinary Officer Sheila Voas said: “The risk of an HPAI incursion into poultry in the UK remains at ‘low, but heightened’, although for wild birds the risk has been raised to ‘medium’.
“It is normal to see these viruses circulating among wild bird populations at this time of year, however the strain seen in Europe appears to be particularly virulent which is a cause for some concern.
“Keeping birds indoors helps to reduce the risk of exposure to the virus, provided that poultry keepers maintain good biosecurity on their premises and remain vigilant for any signs of disease.
“Consumers should not be concerned about eating eggs or poultry given the expert advice about food safety and human health.”