The Ministry of Agriculture has agreed to adopt protective measures in Valencian Community livestock farms against the “notable increase” of avian influenza that has occurred in Europe and in non-European countries and that affects both poultry as well as wild birds.

The geographical situation of the region with respect to the routes of migratory waterfowl in northern and central Europe, as well as the presence of wetlands with an abundance of migratory wild birds at this time of year, makes it necessary to update the measures, according to a resolution of the Directorate of Agriculture.

The risk of introduction and circulation of the virus through the migratory routes of birds is compounded by the fact that the poultry business sector and professional organisations have requested a reinforcement of biosecurity measures to guarantee the animal health of their farms and their livelihood.

According to the resolution published this week, which will be in force until 28 February 2022, the owners of poultry farms will reinforce biosecurity measures in poultry farms in the areas of introduction of this virus, especially those designed to avoid direct and indirect contact with wild birds and to reinforce passive surveillance on farms.

These measures are applicable in various municipalities of the region, including Orihuela, Torrevieja and Santa Pola.

In these municipalities, free-range poultry farming is prohibited, and in the event that any farm expressly requests to maintain this form of breeding, the Livestock Inspection veterinarian will draw up an act stating that they have adequate measures that prevent the entry of wild birds. and therefore their contact with production animals, including the area where they are fed and watered.

It is also prohibited to give water to poultry from water tanks to which wild birds can access, except when it is treated to ensure the inactivation of possible avian influenza viruses, and water tanks located outside certain poultry must be sufficiently protected against wild waterfowl.

In addition, the presence of poultry or other captive birds is prohibited in livestock competitions, samples, exhibitions, and cultural celebrations, as well as any concentration of poultry or other captive birds when these are held outdoors.