Almost 4 weeks into the current Avian Flu Crisis, hundreds of birds are still suffering in East Sussex due to Avian Flu restrictions.
East Sussex WRAS has been told by East Sussex Public Health that we can not advise people to touch sick birds and take them to vets. They have advised that the public should report dead and live sick birds to DEFRA/APHA Avian Flu hotline as well as their local council who they state should be arranging the collection of dead and live sick birds. This does not seem to be happening at any local council and birds are being left to suffer as a result.
Councils are advising people to call the RSPCA and we are even getting calls from people where the RSPCA have advised them to then call us - people are going round in circles trying to get help!
The official advice and system of dealing with sick birds is not working and encourages suffering. We are aware of people taking birds home as a result which is counter productive.
We have been unable to obtain advice and clarification from DEFRA/APHA. East Sussex Public Heath has told us that the advice we have received from an APHA vet is incorrect.
We have now been advised that anyone picking up a sick bird should be wearing PPE, suitable overalls, gloves, fitted FFP3 facemask etc. Vets with suitable facilities and locations at their practices will euthanise sick birds if taken to them, but you must not take them inside their buildings.
The above video was filmed by Hailsham News before WRAS was contacted by East Sussex Public Health, who told us to tell the public not to take sick live birds to vets.
Please contact your local council and MPs to try and get this addressed as soon as possible. No government body seems to want to take responsibility for the sick live birds and everything is being pushed onto already overloaded, overworked and under appreciated charitable organisations like WRAS as well as veterinary practices.
East Sussex WRAS is doing what it can, but with APHA/DEFRA euthanising entire wildlife hospitals full of casualties if Avian Flu is suspect (without even testing taking place) WRAS runs the risk of several hundred birds in its care being put at risk if we admit gulls at the moment. So we are currently, like all the other rescue centres in East Sussex, unable to admit them. There is even a risk placing them in our ambulances for transport, that the infection could pass to other birds which use the vehicles without lengthy and time consuming disinfection regimes, which just aren't feasible at such a busy time of year.
There is already a crisis in East Sussex and WRAS needs your support to get a new Casualty Centre off the ground with bigger and better isolation facilities. https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/eastsussexwildlifecrisisShare this!