18 August 2018 | Online since 2003

27 February 2017

AI UPDATE 21st February 2017

Dear Free Ranger

AI Update – 21 February

To help you prepare for the implementation of new AI Prevention Zones (AIPZs) on 1 March, we are providing general guidance now even though the legislation will not be in force until the end of this month. Members should be aware that the requirements will vary between the four UK countries, and between the Higher Risk Areas (HRAs) and all other areas in England.

What to do now
Apart from in the English HRAs, the devolved authorities are expecting you to make the range unattractive to wild birds and minimise possible infection, in preparation for letting birds range again:

• Drain, fence or net ponds and areas of standing water – subject to obtaining the necessary consents and agreements, consider draining any ponds, standing water or wet areas. If you cannot drain ponds or larger bodies of water within 100m of the range they should be covered/netted/fenced to prevent their use by wild birds
• Remove any wild bird feed sources – check the range for any wild bird feed sources that might attract wild birds: these are most likely to be associated with wet areas but also include spilt grain, seeds and uncovered feed bins.

• Keep wild birds off the range – by walking the area or using bird scarers. Remember to change outer clothing before going back into the hen house.
• Cleansing and disinfection of concrete and other impermeable areas (and possibly other areas of the range) – use an approved disinfectant at the recommended dilution rate.
• Maintain the highest level of biosecurity (with regard to visitors) - foot dips should be used on entry and exit to both houses and outdoor areas/range where the birds are kept. Ensure equipment, feed and bedding are stored undercover so they cannot be contaminated by wild birds (particularly wild waterfowl), and are not shared with others.

More Advice
For more information about what to do now go to http://www.bfrepa.co.uk/Page/Controlling-infectious-disease-on-your-poultry-farm_1078.html where you will find veterinary advice with downloadable links to a BFREPA Self Assessment Form (mentioned below).

What to do from 1 March in England (out of HRAs), Scotland and Wales
Members in these regions will be expected to follow the requirements of the AI Prevention Zone Declarations, as published in the legislation on 28 February. Please note that the legislation has not been published yet and, indeed, England and Scotland are still consulting on the requirements of their AIPZs. The current proposals are still open to change.

BFREPA has produced some guidance in the form of a self-assessment form which should be used in association with the published requirements of the devolved administrations. England and Scotland are expected to produce a checklist that members must use so that they can prove that they are compliant with the AIPZ in their respective country. The completed check list, supported by the BFREPA self-assessment form, should be shown as evidence of compliance to EMIs/APHA/local authorities. Evidence that you have consulted your vet would also be helpful. The contents of the check-lists are unlikely to differ much from BFREPA’s self-assessment forms or, indeed, the current guidance on preparing the range (as above).

What to do inside HRAs from 1 March
Defra say that you have only two options if you are inside an HRA in England.
(a) continue to keep birds housed, in permanent or temporary sheds; or
(b) allow birds outdoors but only into a fenced run which is fully covered by netting
Fencing means covering the whole range required by EC Marketing regulations (and Lion/Freedom Food standards) to encompass the area needed to adhere to external stocking density requirements. So, it is not a smaller, restricted area.

What we are doing for members in English HRAs

We continue to oppose Defra’s HRA proposals, but we must prepare for the eventuality that HRAs will be confirmed at the end of this week. As a result, we have prepared over-sticker labels which can be used on existing boxes to indicate that hens have been housed temporarily for the sake of their welfare. These labels are ready but we are awaiting Defra’s final HRA confirmation and also agreement with the other egg organisations to ensure that the labels are compliant and in line with industry standards. The labels will be available on our website and ready for you to send to your printer. Given the very short period between the publication of the AIPZ final announcement and its implementation on 1 March, trading standards and EMIs will expect to see that the overstickers are with the printers if not on the boxes.

Please complete our Survey by end of Thursday 23 February
In relation to maintaining free range prices to producers in HRAs, we have set up a Survey via Survey Monkey at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/YX2G5P8 . Please complete this if you are in a HRA and produce for retailers via a packer (rather than as a self-marketer), as the intention is to provide evidence to retailers and consumers that most free range producers in the HRAs do not know what price they will receive for their eggs from 1 March. We are aware that M&S, Waitrose and some regional Co-ops have announced that they will support free range producers, but we have also heard that some discounters will not. We need to gain support from consumers and trade to maintain free range egg prices in the larger retailers after February, and this research may help the cause (depending on the results!).

Kind regards
Robert Gooch, CEO
British Free Range Egg Producers Association
Tel 07771 887311


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