In this paper various bird welfare aspects related to avian influenza and other contagious diseases are discussed. Disease outbreaks will, apart from the obvious direct effects on bird health, and thereby their wellbeing, also indirectly influence the welfare of the birds. For example, restrictions on outdoor access for free-range poultry may be imposed, and vaccination or testing schemes may lead to handling or sampling procedures that are stressful to the birds.

At the same time, the immediate risk of a disease outbreak may lead to improved biosecurity measures on farms, which may in turn decrease the risk of other diseases entering the premises, thus resulting in improved bird health and welfare.

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