RUAS cancels poultry section at Balmoral due to bird flu threat

Poultry will not feature at this year's Balmoral Show due to the ongoing threat of bird flu
Poultry will not feature at this year's Balmoral Show due to the ongoing threat of bird flu

The poultry section at this year’s Balmoral Show has been cancelled due to the threat posed by Avian Influenza.

A statement released by RUAS confirms the poultry section of Balmoral show has been cancelled following consultation with officials at the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.

Operations Director of Balmoral Show, Rhonda Geary, said: “With the continued suspension of bird gatherings in Northern Ireland due to Avian Influenza and following consultation with DAERA, the RUAS have regrettably decided to cancel the Poultry Section of the 2017 Balmoral Show.

“There will however still be classes for pigeons, decorated eggs and shelled eggs,” she added.

An Avian Influenza Prevention Zone for all poultry and captive birds will remain in force in Northern Ireland until at least the end of April, Chief Veterinary Officer Robert Huey recently confirmed.

Mr Huey said: “The decision to put in place a new Avian Influenza Protection Zone from 17 March is based on sound expert and industry advice. The risk of infection from wild birds is unlikely to decrease in Northern Ireland in the coming weeks, particularly as H5N8 has been confirmed in wild birds here.

“The current housing requirement, which is due to end on 16 March, has allowed keepers time to introduce stricter biosecurity measures. Therefore it is our intention to lift the mandatory requirement to house after this date, subject to keepers maintaining the highest possible levels of biosecurity.”