Public urged to report dead birds
Local residents are being encouraged to report any dead swans, ducks or geese in an effort to keep a ‘vigilant approach to bird flu’.
The plea comes from Hertfordshire County Council, but the authority says the public should remain calm.
In a news release, the authority recommends that "if residents find more than three dead birds of the same species or more than five birds of different species in the same place, please contact the Department of the Environment Farming and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) helpline on 08459 335577."
According to the Herts Direct website, DEFRA has introduced legislation that requires all keepers of poultry with 50 or more than 50 birds kept for commercial purposes to register their flocks with them.
Anyone with less than 50 birds (chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, guinea fowl, partridges, pheasants, quail, pigeons and ostriches or similar exotic birds) is asked to contact Hertfordshire Trading Standards, who have been leading the county's contingency plans, on 01727 813849 so that owners can be quickly updated with the best advice.
The authority says it has put into place a range of contingency plans to make sure any signs of avian flu are detected at the earliest opportunity.
"It is crucial to know where birds are in the event of any outbreak because then we would be able to quickly inform all poultry owners of the measures they would need to take to prevent avian flu spreading.
"Our Trading Standards officers are on full alert to guard against an outbreak of bird flu - and we hope that the public will feel reassured that we and all the other agencies involved are doing everything possible to protect them," a spokesperson said.
Poultry owners with 50 or more should call DEFRA on 0800 634 1112. Members of the public wishing to report deaths of wild birds to the DEFRA helpline 08459 335577 can currently do this between 6am and 10 pm Mondays to Sundays.
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14 April 2006