A Devizes man has been convicted of flouting the bird flu rules by failing to house his poultry.
45-year-old Ryan Davy pleaded guilty to failing to comply with Avian Influenza Prevention Zone requirements at Swindon Magistrates’ Court on 12 October.
When the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) was declared in November 2022, the defendant refused to follow the rules despite seven visits from Wiltshire Council officers.
The AIPZ meant all bird keepers were legally required to follow strict biosecurity measures to protect their flocks from the threat of avian flu. Under the AIPZ all birds were to be kept within fully enclosed or netted areas, with standing water areas covered or netted to prevent access by wild birds.
The man kept between 50 to 60 poultry, including geese, ducks, chickens, bantams and a turkey on land near Monument Hill, Devizes.
Following text messages on 1 and 7 November sent by council animal health officers advising of the new requirements, he was visited by officers on 30 November 2022.
During the visit, around 40 of his birds were found to not be housed, netted or kept separate from wild birds and water was not undercover. He was informed verbally and in writing that he was failing to comply with the AIPZ requirements.
A further six visits carried out between December and March 2023 also identified breaches of the requirements.
He was given a fine of £200, plus costs of £450 and a £80 victim surcharge.
Cllr Nick Holder, Cabinet Member for Public Protection said; “Last year saw one of the largest ever outbreaks of avian flu this country has seen. An Avian Influenza Prevention Zone was put in place to increase biosecurity and hygiene measures to try and protect our flocks.
“Mr Davy, along with other bird keepers, was legally required to meet these requirements and put measures in place to prevent the spread of disease and protect his birds. However,when it was found that he was not complying, our officers rightly took the breach seriously and acted.
“Whilst the AIPZ is not currently in place, as the weather turns colder and migratory birds start to arrive for the winter, all keepers should familiarise themselves with the latest avian flu advice from Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).
“Please continue to follow hygiene measures as necessary and be vigilant for any signs of disease amongst bird flocks.”
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