Poultry in England were forced into indoor containment by the country’s government last December to help prevent the spread of bird flu in high-risk areas, but now, these precautionary measures are no longer being required.
The government has overturned their decision in the middle of April after finding that the risk of bird flu spreading in previously ‘high-risk’ areas is now no riskier than any other location in England, which is great news for the cooped-up poultry.
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“Based on the latest evidence on reduced numbers of migratory and resident aquatic wild birds we believe that kept birds in the areas we previously designated as higher risk are now at the same level of risk as the rest of England and may now be let outside,” said Professor Nigel Gibbens, England’s Chief Veterinary Officer.
“However, all keepers must still observe strict disease prevention measures to reduce the risk of contamination from the environment, where the virus can survive for several weeks in bird droppings.”
Poultry that were previously forced to be locked up and contained indoors can now free-roam their farm without nets and cages.
Stickers were placed on egg containers found in supermarkets to warn customers that normally ‘free-roaming’ poultry were temporarily forced indoors for their welfare during the outbreaks, but these stickers are no longer required following the relaxed anti-bird flu regulations.
Being cooped up indoors was just one of the precautionary measures in place, and although it’s being overturned to improve the living conditions for poultry given the fact that bird flu spreading risks are falling, other regulations will continue to remain in effect just to be sure.
For example, poultry gatherings are still strictly banned to prevent any possible contamination from one group of poultry being spread to another.
"This does not mean business as usual: the risk from avian flu has not gone away and a prevention zone remains in place, requiring keepers across England to take steps to prevent disease spreading," Gibbens continued.
On the other hand, there’s quite a difference between being able to walk outside and being stuck inside of nets or cages indoors. While the regulations are still limiting, poultry overseas are about to be much happier; and as any farmer will tell you, happier farm animals means tastier food.