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ThePoultrySite Newsletter - 15th March 2004's Weekly Poultry Industry Newsletter's Weekly Poultry Industry Newsletter
Monday 15th March 2004
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Welcome to this week's newsletter

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* News Overview (link to ALL this weeks news)

We start this week in Canada where an extremely virulent form of bird flu has spread to a second British Columbia hatchery, which now must slaughter the 36,000 chickens. The incident has prompted officials to step up inspections in their fight to keep the outbreak from getting out of control and crippling the industry, reports The Calgary Sun.

The US meat market remains as buoyant as ever, despite animal health scares that have dominated the news for the past few months writes Anthony Fletcher in Food Production Daily. A lack of public hysteria towards the Avian flu outbreak has been identified as a major contributing factor. “Avian flu has not affected sales... Chicken prices in the US are higher than ever before" says the report.

Government and poultry industry officials intend to expand testing for bird flu to cover most of the poultry raised in the US, possibly this month, according to CropDecisions. The $12.5 million program would focus on the most dangerous forms of the most common variety, low pathogenic avian influenza.

Litter from poultry houses and storage facilities on Virginia's Eastern Shore may be removed, state officials said yesterday. This comes days after the state feared an outbreak from an avian influenza-positive farm in Maryland (TimesDespatch).

Mexico has said it would partially lift its ban on imports of U.S. poultry reports the USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service. The ban was imposed two weeks earlier after highly pathogenic avian influenza was discovered in a small flock in Texas,

Japan's government is to approve stricter measures to help contain an outbreak of bird flu that has spread to three separate farms and infected wild crows, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda said. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi last week called for a plan to strengthen existing measures, explains a report on Bloomberg.

In Thailand, Bird flu is stubbornly hanging on, dashing hopes that the country would soon be free of the epidemic that has killed seven Thai's and led to the culling of millions of chickens. Thailand, the world’s 4th largest poultry producer and one of the worst-hit countries, had hoped to declare the epidemic over by next week, but officials now say that may not happen until April.

The recent avian influenza outbreaks in Asia serve as stark reminders that another influenza pandemic is inevitable and possibly imminent, says the WHO. Epidemiological models project that an influenza pandemic will be responsible for major disease burden and significant economic costs both in developed and developing countries.

As Asian nations mop up their remaining bird flu outbreaks and prepare to restock their devastated poultry flocks, international health and animal experts are warning that the crisis is far from over. "We are now entering what may be one of the most dangerous periods of the outbreak" said a WHO spokesman.

In Pakistan, the poultry association plans to demand tax exemptions for a period of 5 years to compensate for losses due to recent fears of AI. “The poultry industry would demand complete tax exemptions since the industry had suffered over Rs 5 billion loss due to the spread of rumors of virus in chicken which was stated to be bird flu,” said the Pakistan Veterinary Medical Council president.

In an effort to protect Australia from an outbreak of avian influenza, CSIRO Livestock Industries are developing 'quickie' diagnostic tests for the deadly H5N1 strain of the virus. As the new tests will be based on molecular technologies. It is expected that the two to three days it currently takes to detect H5N1 will be reduced to less than six hours.

In Holland, The Dutch agriculture ministry said on Monday that preliminary blood tests for avian flu at three Dutch poultry farms found that chickens had not developed antibodies to the highly contagious disease. The ministry on Saturday decided to cull the poultry stock at a Dutch farm in the northeast of the country as a precautionary step after blood samples taken in routine tests indicated chickens had developed antibodies.

That's all for this week.

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