September 1, 2020


Bird flu outbreaks in Victoria, Australia, lead to poultry import bans and euthanising of birds


Bird flu outbreaks in the Australian state of Victoria have led to at least eight countries suspending import of poultry products from the region, ABC News reported.

A strain of the virus was first detected at a free-range egg farm in Lethbridge, north-west of Geelong, in late July. Infected birds, which included emus, turkeys and chickens, have since been found in six poultry farms across Victoria.

Agriculture Victoria said three different strains of differing severity have been detected, which meant that the outbreaks were not all connected.

To date, about 400,000 farmed birds have been euthanised to contain the spread of the virus.

The Victorian Farmers Federation Egg Group's president, Brian Ahmed, told ABC Statewide Drive that the loss of flock would be devastating for both large and small producers.

Agriculture Victoria  confirmed Australian poultry trade with at least eight countries is impacted by the outbreak. With the exception the Solomon Islands, those countries are not named.

"The department is working closely with the Solomon Islands and other countries to restore trade," the statement said. "The department has now received agreement that the Solomon Islands' ban only applies to poultry products sourced from within Victoria; a similar outcome has been achieved for seven other countries."

In a statement, Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said he was "sympathetic" to farmers and companies impacted by the loss of trade. "The government is working to reinstate trade in poultry products to overseas markets," he said. "The government is cost-sharing the response, along with all state and territory governments and affected industry bodies.

"This includes a mechanism for reimbursement of certain costs to eligible producers impacted by the response."

- ABC News