More than 200 rare and exotic birds killed in Maldon

Claire said private bird collectors should be treated differently than commercial premises

A woman criticized the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) after 206 rare and exotic birds from her collection were culled.

Canaries, parrots and large cockerels were killed after bird flu was detected at the Maldon site in Essex.

The owner said she was waiting to hear from Defra’s Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) if her remaining 43 birds are also to be culled.

An APHA spokesperson said he appreciated the “distress” caused.

Claire, who owned the collection and wanted to keep her last name private for security reasons, said the shooting was “horrible”.

“It was stressful for us, stressful for the birds and most of all stressful for those we could save because of course they could see what was going on,” he said.

A tragopan pheasant

Claire’s tragopan pheasant was one of 206 birds killed

A sun conure parakeet

Claire’s sun conure parakeet was one of 43 birds that were “exempt” from killing

Claire said her family has held a private collection of rare and exotic birds for 80 years.

The APHA said the positive results were confirmed within its flock on October 9, and the birds were culled a week later.

The agency said it “exempted” 43 “rare breeds” consisting of nine ducks and 34 parakeets, but if further tests were positive they would have been eliminated.

Whole flocks are typically culled as a precaution, including healthy birds, and owners are often entitled to compensation.

Red-breasted geese

Among the birds killed were the red-breasted geese

Claire said private collections shouldn’t be treated like business premises.

“There is nothing in the guide [specifically] for private collections, it’s all for commercial premises and that needs to be changed, ”Essex told BBC.

“Something has to be written, for private collections with endangered species, in order to be treated differently.”

The UK and the EU witnessed the largest outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) ever recorded, with over 190 confirmed cases.

Norfolk, Suffolk and parts of Essex were placed in an avian flu prevention zone last month after a series of outbreaks.

Bird flu map

Norfolk, Suffolk and most of Essex were still subject to a regional avian flu prevention zone meaning owners must keep birds indoors

An APHA spokesperson said: “We appreciate the inconvenience this terrible disease can cause to bird farmers, which is why we respond and act quickly in all reported cases.

“The avian flu prevention zone across the UK means that all bird keepers have a legal responsibility to implement strict biosecurity measures to keep their birds safe and limit further spread.”

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