This is the equivalent of locking anything with feathers.
As of Monday 7th November, all pigeons raised – be it a large free range flock or a hobby racing pigeon – Must be kept indoors or in a covered outdoor cage.
Biosecurity measures such as disinfection of vehicles, equipment and boots are required, and live poultry activities are banned.
Extreme measures in extreme situations.
Europe is under control Avian Influenza Epidemics caused by highly pathogenic H5N1 strains.
It is highly contagious and causes rapid illness and death in commercial flocks of chickens, ducks, turkeys and geese.
England has had occasional outbreaks of H5N1 since the virus first started spreading in 1996 from China, where it originated.
The virus has also caused sporadic outbreaks in wild birds, especially wild birds such as ducks, geese and swans. Culling of infected flocks and restricting the movement of birds has limited the scope of the outbreak.
But things are different this year.
H5N1 virus outbreaks continued throughout the summer, killing seabirds and migratory wildfowl in much of the Northern Hemisphere, resulting in continued outbreaks of wild birds.
Hundreds of outbreaks on poultry farms this year are believed to be linked to transmission from wild birds to farms.
What has changed?
Researchers studying the genetics of the virus believe it has been adapted in a way that allows it to infect wild birds the same way it infects domestic birds.
If this continues, there are fears that bird flu will spread in Europe, if not already. In addition to ongoing outbreaks on farms, migratory birds arriving in the UK this autumn are dying from H5N1 in unprecedented numbers.
The current frustration among conservationists is the impression that wild birds are being “blamed” for the current situation.
However, there is ample evidence that crowded, intensively farmed poultry flocks have given bird flu the opportunity to evolve into highly contagious strains that are now destroying wildlife.
In either case, steps must be taken to break the vicious cycle of infection between wild and domestic birds.
The best tool is the avian flu vaccine for farmed poultry. Some have already been tested on birds, and many more are waiting to be tested.
However, current trade rules prohibit the use of avian flu vaccines. The worry is that they could make some exporters more lax about biosecurity measures, which could lead to the spread of other diseases.
The current pandemic may force people to rethink.