September 30, 2013 at 7:03 pm #439MikeKeymaster
By Gilbert Le Gras
OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada said on Monday it would slaughter some 19
million chickens, turkeys and other poultry in British Columbia’s
Fraser Valley to halt the spread of bird flu.
“It is becoming clear that the rapid spread of the virus requires
much more aggressive action to minimize its additional spread,”
Agriculture Minister Bob Speller told reporters. He said he was
working on a compensation package for farmers.
“The depopulation effort will take some time… I am optimistic,
though, that this new measure will be effective in stopping the
spread of the virus,” Speller said.
Avian influenza has been diagnosed on 18 poultry farms in the Fraser
Valley east of Vancouver and officials said the cull would cover 15
million chickens on about 600 farms.
Although the strain of the virus does not cause serious illness in
humans — two farm workers suffered mild illnesses that doctors
believe were contracted from the birds — one health official said
last week the government wants to eradicate it before it mutates into
a more serious strain.
The first Canadian farm with the bird flu had a low pathogenic virus
but officials said it mutated into a highly pathogenic one within two
“Had we known the highly pathogenic nature of the virus immediately,
I suspect the situation now would be completely different,” Canadian
Food Inspection Agency animal health expert Jim Clarke said.
An outbreak of a different strain of the highly contagious virus in
Asia has caused at least 24 deaths and prompted the slaughter of tens
of millions of fowl.
British Columbia’s government estimates its poultry sector is worth
over C$300 million ($230 million) at the farm gate.
“The people in this area will likely be out of production for a
minimum of half a year,” said Mike Dungate, general manager of the
Chicken Farmers of Canada lobby group.
The European Union (news – web sites) last week eased a blanket ban
on Canadian poultry imports imposed after the first cases of avian
flu were discovered. British Columbia is a minor exporter to the
world market, well behind Quebec and Ontario.
Some 84 percent of the province’s poultry output is in the Fraser
Valley, in southwestern British Columbia.
The forum ‘Strange Animal Deaths’ is closed to new topics and replies.