Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots has announced that the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) in force across Northern Ireland (NI) and the ban on poultry gatherings will end on 1 June 2022.
The measures, imposing a range of compulsory biosecurity measures on poultry flocks, were introduced on 17 November 2021. The aim of the AIPZ was to address the risk posed by avian influenza to the poultry sector and was a vital tool in protecting flocks across NI from the disease which was circulating in wild birds.
Minister Poots said: "This season of Avian Influenza has been the worst ever outbreak in Northern Ireland and across Great Britain. Thanks to the determined efforts from the poultry sector in Northern Ireland to protect their flocks and minimise the impact of disease, we are now in a position to lift the AIPZ and reduce all mandatory restrictions placed on bird keepers as well as allow poultry gatherings from 1 June. I'm sure this will be welcome news for the sector which contributes greatly to our economy and wider society.
"Although all mandatory restrictions have now been lifted, the biosecurity requirements set out for the AIPZ should still be considered good practice. We are urging all bird keepers, whether they have a few birds or thousands, to adhere to the guidance as much as is practically possible. We do not want to lose the progress that we have made over the past few months as low risk certainly does not mean no risk.
"I would also encourage all poultry and captive bird keepers to remain vigilant for any signs of disease in their birds and seek immediate advice from their vet if they have any concerns."
All poultry and bird gatherings will be permitted from 1 June provided organisers comply with the provisions of General Licence available on the DAERA website.
Bird keepers can help prevent avian flu, and other diseases, by maintaining high levels of biosecurity on their premises. Guidance on biosecurity measures you can take to prevent your birds from becoming sick is available from the DAERA website.