Jersey’s Chief Vet has thanked Islanders for their efforts to date to help stop the spread of avian influenza (bird flu). Alistair Breed is also reminding birdkeepers to continue to follow restrictions, which include keeping their birds housed, or otherwise kept separate (by using suitable netting) from wild birds.
In February, two wild buzzards and a captive red-breasted goose tested positive, as previously announced. The Chief Vet subsequently introduced restrictions on bird movements to reduce contact with wild birds and brought in a series of biosecurity measures. No further cases have since been found in Jersey.
Alistair Breed said: ‘I am aware that bird flu controls are not always easy to implement, however I appreciate the great effort that birdkeepers are putting into this. I look forward to their ongoing cooperation as sadly there continues to be a significant risk to birds from wild birds.
Disease surveillance and testing is ongoing, and we cannot be complacent. With outbreaks continuing in England and western France, we need to ensure separation from wild birds continues in Jersey and therefore the housing and separation requirements will, regrettably, remain in place until further notice. To accomplish this, the declaration of an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone for all of Jersey is being continued.’
Traders in Jersey can currently continue to mark eggs as ‘free range’. This is because the housing order was introduced in the Island much more recently than in the UK. This is being reviewed by Trading Standards, who will soon issue guidance about when local producers would need to mark up their products as ‘barn eggs’ instead, to ensure a fair and level trading platform.