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Avian Influenza Prevention Zone in Northern Ireland to be lifted

The Avian Influenza Prevention Zone across Northern Ireland is to be lifted (PA)
The Avian Influenza Prevention Zone across Northern Ireland is to be lifted (PA)

The Avian Influenza Prevention Zone across Northern Ireland is to be lifted.

A ban on poultry gatherings will also end on June 1.

The biosecurity measures were introduced on November 17 2001 in response to an outbreak of avian influenza.

Stormont Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots described the recent season of avian influenza as the “worst ever outbreak in Northern Ireland and across Great Britain”.

“Thanks to the determined efforts from the poultry sector in Northern Ireland to protect their flocks and minimise the impact of disease, we are now in a position to lift the AIPZ and reduce all mandatory restrictions placed on bird keepers as well as allow poultry gatherings from June 1,” he said.

“I’m sure this will be welcome news for the sector which contributes greatly to our economy and wider society.”

Mr Poots said while mandatory restrictions have been lifted, the biosecurity requirements set out for the AIPZ should still be considered good practice.

“We are urging all bird keepers, whether they have a few birds or thousands, to adhere to the guidance as much as is practically possible,” he said.

“We do not want to lose the progress that we have made over the past few months as low risk certainly does not mean no risk.

“I would also encourage all poultry and captive bird keepers to remain vigilant for any signs of disease in their birds and seek immediate advice from their vet if they have any concerns.”