Rescue centre closed to birds amid Avian 'flu concerns

A wildlife rescue centre in Shropshire has been forced to stop accepting new birdlife due to the outbreak of Avian influeza in the area.

The decision has been made to stop the spread of the virus, and to protect birds like this one already in Cuan's care. Photo: Cuan Wildlife Rescue.
The decision has been made to stop the spread of the virus, and to protect birds like this one already in Cuan's care. Photo: Cuan Wildlife Rescue.

Cuan Wildlife Rescue in Much Wenlock took the decision this week, ahead of new rules coming in to force on Monday. The decision has been made for the welfare of the animals already in Cuan, but has not been taken lightly.

Fran Hill, hospital manager, said: "We are not accepting any birds at the moment as a measure to protect the animals on site. Should we have a positive case, that would have huge implications for the birds on site.

"That would result in a complete cull of all the birds on site, and that in itself is why we had make this very difficult decision."

Fran added that it could also result in some mammals at the site being culled too.

However, she stressed that Cuan is still open and running, and staff are always available for advice.

The UK Government had previously announced that an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) was in effect across the country in early November.

The new additional 'housing' measures mean that it will be a legal requirement for all bird keepers across the UK to keep their birds indoors and to follow strict biosecurity measures in order to limit the spread, and eradicate the disease.

Prior to closing to new admissions of birds, staff at Cuan had been taking Avian 'flu precautions at the site. People bringing birds to Cuan had to remain in their cars while birds were checked, the usual raft of PPE and boot-wash measures were put in place too.

However, for the foreseeable future at least the Much Wenlock centre will not be admitting more birds. Fran added that the measures could stay in place until early next year, but the centre will be guided by DEFRA on how to proceed.

Fran added: "All we want to do is help the wildlife, and being forced not to is something we all find quite difficult."

In the meantime, cases of bird 'flu have been identified on the Isle of Anglesey and Chirk.

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