DEFRA Compartments

Compartments for Breeding Poultry – Ensuring Freedom from Avian Influenza and Newcastle Disease

The Compartment principle was first proposed by the OIE in 2004 as a means of enabling international trade to continue without the risk of spreading disease. The United Kingdom is the first country to apply the idea to breeding poultry.

The United Kingdom (UK) Compartment scheme provides an assurance that member companies are free from both avian influenza (AI) and Newcastle disease (ND), even at times when there may be an outbreak of one of these diseases within the country.

The essential feature is that Compartment birds are effectively isolated from all other poultry and wild birds in the UK, by both physical means and management practices. A number of importing countries have agreed that UK Compartments provide sufficient reassurance that approved companies are free from AI or ND, even when there may be a localised and controlled outbreak of one of these within the UK, and they are therefore willing to continue imports from the UK.

It is important to emphasise that the UK normally exports breeding poultry on the basis of national freedom from both avian influenza and Newcastle disease according to OIE criteria. The Compartment system would be relied upon only at times when national freedom has been temporarily lost.

The UK Compartment scheme for breeding poultry is an official project run by Defra, and members of the scheme must be inspected and monitored by government veterinary officials.

The rules for UK breeding poultry Compartments are detailed and stringent. A Summary provides an overview of the sort of conditions that are required. The detailed rules are laid down in the Schedules for Hatcheries and Schedules for Flock Farms. Further information and instructions about applying for membership are provided on the Defra website with details on joining the compartmentalisation scheme and the application form. The Defra website also contains a list of the premises that are currently approved click here.

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