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Chicken owners required to register with UK gov’t

Flag of the United Kingdom (Unsplash)
April 08, 2024

All chicken owners will soon be forced to register with the United Kingdom government or face up to six months in prison or a £5,000 fine. The government’s new regulations come as the country tries to prevent another bird flu outbreak.

“Under the changes announced last month, there will be new requirements for all bird keepers – regardless of the size of their flock – to officially register their birds,” a Bolton Council press release stated.

The press release explained that prior to the new United Kingdom regulations, only individuals who had 50 chickens or more were required to register with the government. Chicken owners will now be required to register their birds with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs by October 1 of this year.

The press release added, “Owners will need to provide information, including their contact details, the location where birds are kept and details of the birds, such as species, number and what they are kept for.”

If chicken owners do not register their birds, they could be fined up to £5,000 or face six months in prison, according to The Telegraph. The outlet noted that chicken registration requires owners to obtain a county parish holding number from the government’s Rural Payments Agency and complete an online form.

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The Telegraph reported that the new regulations are intended to prevent future outbreaks of Avian Influenza, which is also known as bird flu. The United Kingdom recently experienced an avian flu outbreak, which led to the death of millions of chickens since 2021.

According to The Telegraph, while the United Kingdom recently announced that the country was avian flu-free, the government was moving forward with the changes to prevent future outbreaks.

“These new rules will enable us to have a full picture of the number and location of birds kept across Great Britain, making it easier to track and manage the spread of avian disease,” Christine Middlemiss, chief veterinary officer for the United Kingdom, said in a statement obtained by The Telegraph. “This information will be vital in helping to inform future risk assessments and maintain our commitment to continually building our extensive avian influenza research portfolio.”

The Telegraph reported that British Hen Welfare Trust Chief Executive Jane Howorth said that while the organization, which provides homes for commercial laying hens, has been supportive of the government’s changes, the changes could prevent people from helping find new homes for chickens.

“There has been an outpouring of frustration that people will have to comply with another level of bureaucracy,” Howorth said. “It could impact the number of birds that are saved from slaughter because some people do not want to go through this bureaucratic registration process.”