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Dept Of Agriculture Lift Bird Flu Restrictions

Health chiefs at the Irish Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine have lifted confinement restrictions relating to the H5N8 bird flu. They confirm it is no longer a legal requirement to confine poultry and other birds under the emergency measures against the dreaded avian influenza threat.

This threat saw not just farmyard poultry, but also birds at Dublin Zoo removed from public view, e.g. flamingos, penguins, and ostriches.

The initial curfew was imposed following confirmation of the H5N8 strain of bird flu in a wild duck, found in Co. Wexford late last year and also in a migrating Whooper Swan, found near the village of Borrisokane, Co. Tipperary, in January 2017.

But the Department said today it has decided to lift the confinement because there has been no further cases of bird flu confirmed in wild birds for the last eight weeks. This decision is further based on other factors, including rising temperatures and the now reduction of migratory birds.

A Department of Agriculture spokesman has confirmed that bird owners can now allow their poultry access to open areas, but should continue to remain vigilant, monitoring their birds for any signs of disease which in theory could still be transmitted to their flock by wild birds. In particular, over the coming weeks, birds should still be fed indoors or under cover where at all feasible.

Producers of previously branded free range chickens and eggs; which had been barred from using the “free range”  logo; can return, as and from next Tuesday onwards, to again use their previous branding, for all eggs produced and all poultry slaughtered.

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