H5N1: Defra requirement for poultry to be housed indoors lifted

Defra announced today that the requirement for poultry farmers to house their birds, following the avian flu outbreak at the Bernard Matthews farm in Suffolk, has been lifted.

At 2pm today, 1 March, the specific Protection Zone restrictions will be removed and will become part of the wider Surveillance Zone). In addition, the requirement to house birds within all of the zones, including the Restricted Zone, will be lifted.

Defra said it had carried out surveillance of 148 premises of live poultry (including testing ducks and geese) and tested approximately 64 dead wild birds within the zones and tested faecal samples from the environment around the infected premises. This has not revealed the presence of disease outside the affected premises.

Defra deputy Chief Veterinary Officer Fred Landeg said: "This is a positive step that has resulted from our work to stamp out the disease. However, we cannot afford to be complacent. We must remain vigilant and I must stress again how important it is for poultry keepers to practice good bio-security."