FORMER prime minister David Cameron’s wife, Samantha, has been criticised for an apparent breach of the UK’s poultry housing order.

A post on Mrs Cameron’s Instagram account on 31 December shows four hens ranging outside.

See also: 4 key things to know about a free-range poultry housing order

Since 14 December there has been a housing order in place, requiring all poultry owners to keep hens housed.

The picture has received hundreds of likes, but some followers of her account have been critical.

One said: “Lovely picture, but I think your chickens should not be out given Defra’s housing order? #AvianInfluenza.”

Another added: “Beautiful, but need to follow the government guidelines for those beautiful hens.”

Chris Packham, the BBC broadcaster and environmental activist, told the Times: “The law is the law and if they’ve brought a law in to protect captive flocks then that’s it. It relies on wholesale responsibility; everyone has to knuckle down.”

There have been 20 outbreaks of avian influenza in the UK so far this winter, with the latest two in Northern Ireland – the first time a highly pathogenic notifiable strain of the disease has been confirmed in a commercial flock.