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Foot & Mouth Keeps UK Birders at home

11th March 2001. We all have a responsibility to make every effort to minimise the spread of 'Foot & Mouth' infection, so we bring this information to the attention of anyone birding in the UK. More and more birders and birding organisations are advising staying at home or only visiting sites to sea watch or at reserves where there is absolutely no risk of wild mammals or livestock being close by. Please bear in mind that deer are very widespread and can carry this devastating disease. The last thing anyone wants is for a birder to carry the disease to a new site.

?All RSPB reserves are closed for next seven days because of the current foot and mouth outbreak. Check here at the beginning of next month for further news.?
RSPB?On Friday, 23 February 2001, the BTO took the decision to suspend fieldwork on farmland until further notice. We have halted all work on farmland by staff and contract workers, and have advised volunteer fieldworkers, through their local representative to stop survey visits. As far as volunteers are concerned this particularly affects Winter Farmland Bird Survey, Game Cover Crops and Organic projects. This policy applies equally to BTO bird ringers. This policy will remain in force until further notice.?
BTO?At present the ban on movement is only in place for species actually affected by foot and mouth, poultry are not covered by this order and hence neither are pheasants and they can legally be shifted around the country. As we are at the peak of the catching up period our advice however must be not to move birds if this is at all avoidable and to take full disinfection precautions with vehicles crates and clothing. Birds could perhaps be held in a holding pen on the farm of origin for several weeks until the situation is clarified.?
The Game Conservancy

?WWT supports the government's advice not to visit open countryside or farmland. WWT visitor centres remain open, except WWT Arundel (which remains closed due to earlier flooding) and WWT Caerlaverock where, due to its close proximity to livestock, it is considered prudent to close this reserve to the public until further notice. WWT apologises for any inconvenience this may cause its members or the general public. All other WWT centres, including the Wetland Centre, London currently remain open to all visitors. However, WWT is keeping the situation under constant review in accordance with MAFF advice. If you are planning a visit to a WWT visitor centre please check this site regularly for the latest updates and follow government guidelines about not going close to farmland and livestock areas.?
Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust"Keep clear of farmland until further notice"
Ramblers Association"Anglers asked to lay down their rods"
Anglers Association"All foot paths, bridle paths and byways closed till further notice"
Kent County CouncilForest District Managers are working closely with their local divisional health offices across the country and have taken positive action in a bid to reduce the risks of the disease spreading. People are being actively discouraged from entering public woodlands on unnecessary visits and all forests within infected areas are being closed.
Forestry CommissionThe Kennel Club would like to advise that Crufts 2001 has been postponed and will not take place as planned on 8th ? 11th March. The Kennel Club has reached this decision due to the escalating situation with Foot and Mouth disease and after close liaison with the appropriate authorities. MAFF have advised The Kennel Club that Crufts poses no greater threat than other public gatherings held at this time and that dogs and their handlers are not at risk from Foot and Mouth disease. However, The Kennel Club has reached this decision in light of its responsibilities to dogs and the dog world.
The Kennel Club"Hunting suspended throughout England & Wales"
Masters of Fox & Deer HoundsFor the latest update see the MAFF website at: http://www.maff.gov.uk/animalh/diseases/fmd/default.htmFocalpoint announces the suspension of its news messaging service for twitchers "until the crisis is over"…"The Foot and Mouth outbreak is rapidly spreading throughout Britain and as of 3/3/01 it seems that most reserves or birdwatching areas are either legally or morally off limits to everyone. We would advise birders not to make any unnecessary journeys in the hope that this disease will be soon contained".
Lee Evans' 400 clubThe KOS applauds and supports the BTO,RSPB,WWT and other organisations for their firm action and policy and recommends full co-operation. Good relations with the farming community are vital now and in the future for an infinite number of ornithological related matters.

Discretion really is the better part of valour regarding 'rarities' at sensitive locations, caution is critical at this time; respect for the law and observing it is absolute; 100% positive consideration for those whose lives and livelihoods are under threat is non-negotiable. Contravening the current emergency regulations will not be condoned or considered in any way justifiable.

If an outbreak was even remotely connected let alone proven to be due to the foolhardy, selfish behaviour of any birdwatcher, the outcome and potential damage to birdwatching and the future credibility of birdwatchers would be devastating. These are difficult times - good judgement and considerate behaviour are crucial.
See the Kent, UK page for the full statement…
KOS Executive Committee

4th July 2014