May 9, 2022
Poultry farmers in Canada concerned over bird flu
Poultry farmers in Canada are concerned over the highly pathogenic strain of H5N1 avian influenza spreading among wild and domestic birds in North America, The Associated Press reported.
Data from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) showed Canadian poultry and egg producers have lost more than 1.7 million birds to bird flu since late-2021. This includes birds that have been culled to prevent the spread of the virus.
Alberta state is the worst hit state with the virus detected at 23 farms and 900,000 birds dead. The second hardest hit state is Ontario with the virus detected at 23 farms and 425,000 birds dead.
Bird flu outbreaks have been reported in every Canadian province except Prince Edward Island. Canadian farmers have been advised to keep flocks indoors, restrict visitors to farms and boost biosecurity measures.
The CFIA said the latest outbreak around the world is extraordinary in terms of its impact, especially in Asia and Europe.
The new strain is extremely contagious and appears to be self-sustaining in wild bird populations. There is hope that cases will drop in June when the spring bird migration ends, but farmers are wondering when the next outbreak will occur.
Jean-Michel Laurin, chief executive of the Canadian Poultry and Egg Processors Council, said the industry is badly affected by the disease, even though farmers are eligible for government compensation if their flocks are culled or killed because of bird flu.
Laurin said Canadian consumers are not affected by stock shortages. He said this is because Canadian chicken barns are usually smaller, family run operations compared to giant industrial scale barns in the US, which means an outbreak detected at one facility will affect a huge amount of supply.
- The Associated Press