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Pets' Corner closed as precautionary measure

Published on Friday, December 9, 2016

ABBEY Park’s Pets’ Corner is temporarily closed to the public as part of a nationwide bid to reduce the risk of avian flu.

While there is no evidence to suggest that bird flu is present in the UK, the city council has closed the children’s attraction as a precautionary measure, following the declaration of an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone in England by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

As required by DEFRA, staff have moved the chickens, ducks, pheasants and peacocks out of their aviaries and into secure pens to ensure that they can’t come into contact with wild birds or their faeces.

The love-birds and finches, however, have not been moved, as their secure and covered aviary means they are not at risk.

By closing Pets’ Corner to the public, the city council will be able to practise good biosecurity on site, reducing the number of people accessing the area and ensuring that clothing, footwear and equipment are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected to avoid the transfer of contamination.

Head of regulatory service Roman Leszczyszyn said: “Bird flu has been identified in a number of European countries, including Germany and France, but no cases have been reported in the UK so far. 

“At this time of year, the virus could be brought into the country by migrating waterbirds, so it’s important that we’re vigilant and that we do what we can to reduce the risk of transmission.

“The public can help, by alerting DEFRA if they see dead birds – particularly swans, ducks, geese, gulls and waders.

“But while we await further advice from veterinary staff and DEFRA, Pets’ Corner will remain closed as a precautionary measure.”

Posters have gone up in Leicester’s parks and open spaces, asking people to contact DEFRA if they find a dead swan, duck, goose, gull or wader, or groups of dead birds. Five dead birds of the same species, or more than five dead birds of different species in the same place, should also be reported.

The DEFRA helpline is 03459 33 55 77. 

Anyone concerned about a dead bird in a city park or playground should call Leicester City Council on 0116 454 1003.

Anyone who keeps chickens, or other captive birds, is now required to bring them indoors – or take appropriate steps to ensure they don’t come into contact with wild birds.

Further information and advice from DEFRA is available at www.gov.uk/government/news/new-measures-to-protect-poultry-against-avian-flu