Bird flu has been discovered in three dead mute swans in Abbotsbury in Dorset, infected with the H5N1 strain.
Testing for bird flu has begun on other birds at Abbotsbury Swannery. Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs(Defra) spokesperson Linda Scott said: ‘Government vets have been testing them for avian flu for the last two days.’
Bird flu was last seen in the UK in November.
Shadow Environment Secretary, Peter Ainsworth said: ‘Clearly this is very disturbing news especially because of the connection with the wild bird population.’
It was established by Benedictine Monks who built a monastery at Abbotsbury during 11th century.
The monks farmed the swans to produce food for their lavish banquets.
St Peter’s monastery was destroyed in 1539 during the dissolution.
The Swannery now hosts mass feeding sessions every day, involving the feeding of up to 600 swans.
Testing will now begin to see whether the H5N1 strain of bird flu has spread beyond the infected dead mute swans in Abbotsbury in Dorset.