Bird flu advice '˜being ignored' says Chesterfield chicken keeper
An animal-lover says she is angry with the '˜irresponsible' people who are flouting the Government's bird flu advice.
Nyree Clark, 35, claims she is still seeing ‘lots’ of birds outside - in direct opposition to the Department for Food and Rural Affair’s advice.
Nyree - who keeps 30 chickens and eight ducks on fields near Barlborough - is now worried that if there has to be a cull, she will have to kill her beloved pets.
She says: “I keep driving past people with chickens and ducks free ranging when they should have been on lockdown for nearly 30 days - it is very frustrating.
“If it reaches us I don’t want to have to kill my birds because of other people’s irresponsibility and selfishness.
“I have one duck who is 14 years old.”
Nyree - who lives on Worksop Road in Mastin Moor - says the only other solution for owners is to completely cover their runs with netting, so their flocks cannot mix with passing wild birds.
If owners cannot do this, however, birds must remain ‘housed’ until February 28 at the earliest.
If people do not follow this advice, they can be fined up to £5,000 or even face three months in prison.
“The whole country is covered by the advice - everyone should have their birds indoors,” said Nyree.
“I have now had to kick my poor horses out of their stables.”
The latest bird flu scare came about when the ‘H5N8’ strain of the highly contagious disease was confirmed at locations in Lincolnshire and South Wales.
The same strain has also been found in wild birds in England, Scotland, Wales and across Europe.
Defra says the risk to public health is very low and bird flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.
As well as keeping them indoors, all owners - no matter how many birds they have - are required to keep a close watch on the health of their animals and put in place a high level of biosecurity precautions.
In addition, members of the public are encouraged to report any dead wild birds they see to the Defra helpline on 03459 335577.