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H5N8 confirmed in Lancashire

Last week DEFRA confirmed two cases of H5N8 avian influenza in backyard flocks in Lancashire, England.  

This brings the total to twelve H5N8 infected premises (IP) since winter 2016. The premises are under restriction and a 3 km Protection Zone and a 10 km Surveillance Zone have been put in place.  Further information can be found on the Defra website.

The Scottish Government still intends to licence all bird gatherings (including poultry, game birds and waterfowl) from 15 May, as set out below and subject to compliance with the conditions of the revised general licence.  However the recent cases in England highlight the continuing uncertainty around levels of H5N8 virus persisting in resident wild birds and the environment.  That is why we have introduced the new requirements that any poultry, game birds or waterfowl attending gatherings from 15 May must come from within Scotland, and poultry must be inspected by an expert on arrival at the event.  We will continue to monitor the situation across the UK carefully and will revise the general licence as the situation develops.

The risk of incursion of avian influenza into poultry or captive birds in Scotland, either from non-migratory wild birds or contaminated environment remains at “LOW” (rare, but could occur), and can be further reduced by implementation of biosecurity practices.  An updated EPIC risk assessment is available online, and attached for information.


Amended bird gatherings general licence

As announced last week SG intends to allowgatherings of poultry, waterfowl and game birds in Scotland from 15 May.  The amended general licence is attached, and is now available online.  The licence permits shows from 15 May, provided that the Animal Plant & Health Agency (APHA) have been notified 7 days in advance – for shows taking place on 15 May this means that APHA must be notified on Monday 8 May at the latest. 

The updated general licence includes some new requirements for organisers of a gathering, including:

·         Poultry, waterfowl and game birds cannot be brought to gatherings from outside Scotland

·         Any poultry attending a gathering must be inspected by a poultry expert designated by the event organiser (eg, a competition judge or experienced keeper) before they are allowed on-site

·         The organiser must have a detailed contingency plan for dealing with a notifiable avian disease outbreak at the event, including isolating affected birds on the premises until a veterinary inspector had provided further instructions.

The full list of requirements can be found on the licence.  Further information can be found at

Anyone who suspects an animal may be affected by a notifiable disease must report it to their local Animal Plant & Health Agency office. Contact details can be found at


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