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ThePoultrySite Newsletter - 13th February 2006

Monday 13th February 2006
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*Latest News (link to all this weeks news)

This week we start in the EU, where the arrival of bird flu has prompted governments across the region to bolster their defences against the deadly H5N1 virus as farmers brace for a plunge in poultry consumption.
     Italy, Greece and Bulgaria reported their first cases of the virus that has now also spread from Asia to Africa, killed around 90 people and led to the destruction of millions of birds.
     With the discovery of the disease in Nigeria, Europe's governments had focused on the threat from returning migratory birds in the spring, but the new cases have added an extra urgency. In Rome, farmers group Coldiretti said poultry sales had plunged more than 50% after the news at the weekend.
See Also: Greece and Italy find Bird Flu in swans

Belgian health officials were testing a dead swan found near the Dutch border for avian flu, but stressed they were merely following procedure and were not too concerned. "This is normal procedure, we have tested several birds," a spokeswoman for Belgium's food agency said. "It is most likely that it died a natural death."

Following the discovery of the deadly strain of the bird flu virus in wild swans in Sicily on Saturday, fears that Malta could also have been affected were quickly allayed by the authorities. The situation in Malta appears to be under control, at least for the time being, reports The Malta Independant.

Africa's response to the first appearance of H5N1 bird flu on the continent may be aided by its fight against an entirely unrelated infection - polio. Nigeria, where the flu strain was found in chickens last week, is the focus of a high-stakes endgame effort to eradicate polio from the world.
     The work is being done by thousands of vaccinators and surveillance officers equipped with maps that record every house in every village and who are able to move diagnostic specimens from patient to laboratory quickly and safely.

The spread of bird flu from Asia to eastern Europe and now west Africa has increased the chance that the virus will mutate and cause a possible pandemic among humans, says the United Nations’ expert on the disease. Dr David Nabarro said Friday there was no evidence yet of any change in the bird flu virus.
     “Unfortunately, we cannot tell when the mutation might happen, or where it might happen, or how unpleasant the mutant virus will turn out to be,” he said in an interview with the Associated Press.

If avian influenza spreads, it could cause an economic crisis in South Korea, financial regulators warned today. The Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) has picked avian influenza as one of 13 possible factors that could disrupt the stability of the South Korean economy.
     Between 2003 and 2004, South Korea culled 5.3 million poultry infected with the disease. No cases of human infection have been confirmed in South Korea.

Government workers searched rural areas of Hong Kong for poultry to enforce a ban on backyard fowl to try to stop bird flu taking hold in one of the world's most densely populated cities.
     Jitters have grown in Hong Kong, already on edge following eight deaths from bird flu in China and after six wild birds and two chickens in the territory were killed by the H5N1 strain in the past three weeks.
     The ban brought tears of despair to bird owners in Hong Kong's rural New Territories, who saw their poultry as pets, as well as food.

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China reported its 11th human case of avian influenza to the WHO, the Ministry of Health said in a statement posted last wednesday. The patient is a 26-year-old woman surnamed Lin from Zhangpu county in Fujian province in southern China, the report said. The farmer fell ill on Jan. 10 with symptoms of fever and pneumonia and is now in stable condition in hospital, it said.
     Lin tested positive for H5N1 virus in accordance to WHO standards and all of her acquaintances have been put under medical observation, the statement said. No avian influenza outbreaks have been reported in the area where Lin lives, it said.

The World Bank said it is working with its U.N. partners to swiftly to approve programs to combat the spread of the bird flu with newly committed donor funds. A donor conference in Beijing on January 18 pledged $2 billion in global funding to tackle the virus.
     "There is money now and the challenge is for governments to put proposals on the table which we will respond to very quickly," said Jim Adams, the bank's vice president for operations policy and country services, in an interview with Reuters.

In Indonesia, the bird flu virus claimed two more human lives, raising to 18 the number of deaths in the country from bird flu, a Health Ministry official said on Sunday. Further suspected outbreaks in birds were reported, with EU member Slovenia saying it had sent samples of avian influenza H5 found in a swan to Britain for further tests to see if it was of the highly pathogenic variety.
     Veterinary experts said more than 200,000 birds had been culled in northern Iraq to stem the spread of avian flu which has killed one teenager there and emphasised the virus posed no serious threat to human health.

Azerbaijan said on Friday the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu had been found in wild birds on the Caspian Sea. Samples from the birds were sent for tests to London and showed the bird flu strain was present, a spokesman for the Health Ministry said.
     "In some analyses the H5N1 bird flu strain was found," the spokesman told Reuters. "Bird flu has not yet been found in the human population."

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Romania raised custom duties on poultry imports to protect domestic producers hit by sagging consumption due to worries about the deadly bird flu virus, the government said today.
     The Black Sea state has found avian flu in fowl in 29 villages since its first outbreak in October. Poultry companies said dwindling consumption had triggered losses of millions of euros, bringing the sector to the brink of collapse.

The German government said today it was set to order poultry indoors following the outbreaks in Italy, Greece and Bulgaria. Germany had planned to impose a ban on keeping poultry outdoors from March 1, but a spokeswoman for Agriculture Minister Horst Seehofer said the ban would likely now be brought forward.

In The Netherlands, the food safety authority VWA said it had lifted the quarantine orders on a remaining 127 Dutch farms closed after dioxin was found in animal feed last month. VWA said latest test results did not shown any abnormally high levels of dioxin in pigs and there was therefore no need to continue the quarantine measures, which at one stage affected 275 farms.
     Earlier this week the VWA said it would kill and destroy about 3,500 pigs weighing more than 50 kg from the 10 farms where the highest contamination was found, according to Planet Ark.

Allowing chickens to roam outside freely without a roof over their heads on Dutch chicken farms presents risks to public health and food safety. Chickens could become infected with bird flu and take up too much dioxin. But a ban on free-range chickens is not necessary according to experts from Wageningen UR. There are enough other ways to reduce the risks.
     "It is important to inform consumers so that they can consider both the safety and animal-welfare aspects of a product" says Martien Bokma, researcher at the Animal Science Group in Lelystad. She worked on a study of the food safety aspects of animal-friendly housing systems.

In the UK, disposing of fallen stock caused problems for many farmers last year, as some collectors employed by the National Fallen Stock Company failed to cope with demand over lambing. According to NFSCo chairman Michael Seals, those problems should be history as collectors have worked hard to avoid a repeat of the scenario of dead animals lying on farm for weeks.
     "We are fully aware of the problems faced in certain parts of the country last year, however, we believe a series of measures being implemented this year should help overcome these difficulties. "Most of the problems in north Wales last year were caused by logistics.

Reaching new peaks of performance
Reaching new peaks of performance

In Ireland, rural areas will be hard hit by the European Union nitrates directive, Independent MEP Marian Harkin has warned. “It is no exaggeration to say that pig and poultry farming will be shut down if the current maximum rates of fertiliser as proposed by Teagasc are implemented,” she said.
     Ms Harkin said rural areas benefited to the extent of &euro2.5 billion from the inputs and services purchased by farmers, and 75% of Irish grain was consumed by the pig and poultry sectors.

In a first step toward setting firm guidelines on the monitoring of emissions from large intensive farms, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has reached agreement with 20 farms to collect air samples.
     In return, noncompliant operations will pay EPA a one-time fine ranging from $200 to $100,000. Ultimately, 2,681 Animal Feeding Operations (AFOs) - representing some 6,700 farms in 42 states - will sign similar deals.
     The deal aims to simplify testing and data collection and to promote goodwill so that compliance issues can be resolved, says Dave Ryan, EPA spokesman. The agency has until now been unable to effectively monitor and test AFOs because there was no widely accepted method for doing so.

In Montana, work is set to begin next week on a plan to implement a state law requiring that meat sold in grocery stores and other shops be labeled to show country of origin. Fed up with attempts on the national level, supported by Montana's and South Dakota's Senate and House delegations to Washington D.C., to enact a country-of-origin meat labeling law, Montana is looking to lead the way, reports the Argus Leader

The threat of bird flu is hammering chicken prices overseas and hurting US exports - and it's only a matter of time until the United States is faced with its own avian influenza scare, the head of one of the nation's largest poultry producers said last Wednesday.
     Jim Perdue, chairman of Perdue Farms Inc., said less-deadly strains of bird flu circulate all the time among birds and fowl, but public fears of the killer strain now in Asia and Eastern Europe will test the multibillion-dollar U.S. poultry industry when a milder version crops up on farms here.

In Canada, Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food is blaming high hog slaughter numbers and low chicken prices in the US for a dramatic slide in live hog prices. Chicken breasts in the United States are currently selling for under one dollar per pound but are expected to rise. Marceniuk notes, because of the avian flu, exports of US poultry are down forcing both beef and pork to compete with chicken.

VIROCID - The Global Disinfectant
VIROCID - The Global Disinfectant

Company news

One of the world's leading suppliers of poultry meat breeding stock, Cobb has moved its regional office for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) to the UK. The new office at Severalls Business Park, Colchester, Essex, became operational this week. The move consolidates offices in Holland, the UK and the regional management team into one location to lead the growth and development of the overall business in the EMEA region.

A commemorative award was presented to Cobb-Vantress at the US Poultry & Egg International Poultry Expo in Atlanta to mark the 50th year that Cobb has exhibited at the event. A crystal bowl was presented to Cobb president James Bell by Dr Ron Prestage, chairman of the US Poultry & Egg Association.
     Mr Bell said he was proud to receive the award on behalf of the Cobb team. "Commitment to customer care is what makes our company great and has allowed us to remain a vital part of this industry for the past 90 years," he stated.

*This Week's Feature Articles

In this regular newsletter section we aim to provide a brief overview of the new Feature articles that have been added to the site over the past week.

We have 3 new features this week

Manufacturing A Quality Premix
By Avitech - A premix is a mixture of vitamins, trace minerals, medicaments, feed supplements and diluents. It is a value added solution for feeds with sustainable safety and quality. The premix industry is charged with the responsibility of manufacturing a high quality premix consistently, efficiently and economically.

DAHS Prevention and Control of Avian Influenza Series - No. 1
By DuPont Animal Health Solutions - The leading international biosecurity experts, DAHS are currently focusing on the global effort to prevent and contain the spread of Avian Influenza by providing poultry farmers worldwide with a practical "Avian Influenza Best Practice Series".

USDA Poultry and Products Semi-Annual Reports 2006 link
By USDA, FAS - This article provides the poultry data from the USDA FAS Poultry and Products Semi-Annual 2006 reports. We start this week with the following countries; Brazil and the EU-25. Within each article is a link to the full report which includes all the tabular data which we have omitted from these articles.

Arbor Acres - Helping Success take Shape
Arbor Acres - Helping Success take Shape

That's all for this week!

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