Bird flue prevention zone in Scotland in place till end of this month
The current prevention zone, which is in place until February 28, 2017, applies to all poultry and captive birds in Scotland, and requires keepers to continue to keep their birds indoors, or take appropriate practical steps to keep them separate from wild birds.
There is also a GB-wide ban on poultry shows and gatherings. While there have been no cases confirmed in captive birds in Scotland, there have been several cases in England and Wales.
At the meeting, Ewing discussed the current risk of Avian Influenza and options beyond February 28, including the enforcement of biosecurity measures, with representatives of NFUS, free range egg producers, the British Retail Consortium and the Gamebird and Wildlife Conservation Trust.
"We know this is a difficult time for bird keepers and retailers which is why it’s important we listen to their views on how we can best protect our valuable poultry industry.
"With the current prevention zone expiring later this month and risk levels unlikely to reduce before then, we discussed next steps, and what would be a reasonable and practical approach for the industry.
"We want to protect the economic wellbeing of this industry, as in Scotland, we estimate that organic eggs output was worth about £6 million to agriculture in 2016, with free range worth around £46 million." ■