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ThePoultrySite Newsletter - 29th March 2004's Weekly Poultry Industry Newsletter's Weekly Poultry Industry Newsletter
Monday 29th March 2004
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Welcome to this week's newsletter

* News Overview (link to ALL this weeks news)

We start this week in South Korea where Chicken prices have recently begun to decline as supply re-emerges in the aftermath of the Asian bird flu, retailers say. Prices plunged in January as demand for chicken tumbled on reports of the spread of bird flu, then the prices soared as the disease and its associated fears abated while the number of chicks declined.

In western Japan, all chickens from the poultry farm, where its owners were criticized for hiding the outbreak of avian flu in late February, have been culled and the remains buried. If final inspections show that poultry farms 5 kilometres or more from Asada Nosan have not been infected, the ban on their products will be lifted from April, reports ChannelNewsAsia.

The infection of eight crows in Kyoto and Osaka prefectures with avian flu has raised concerns that wild birds that get near people may become potential vehicles for the virus. The infected crows are believed to have eaten the flesh of dead chickens at two flu-hit poultry farms in Kyoto Prefecture or consumed the droppings of infected chickens.

Eiken Chemical Co and the National Institute of Infectious Diseases of Japan have jointly developed a reagent to identify the H5 strain of the avian influenza virus within 30 minutes, reports to Japan Today. The Company would like to launch sales of the reagent for research purposes since collecting the data needed to obtain government approval for the substance is expected to take some time.

In Vietnam, the Director of the Veterinary Services Department has stated that as many as 31 provinces and cities have announced that they are free from bird flu. To prevent bird flu recurrence, the department has required relevant agencies and localities to strengthen measures to combat the epidemic, especially at border areas and bordergates.

Mekong delta poultry farmers who suffered heavy economic losses triggered by the bird flu outbreak are worrying about their bank debts, whilst assistance from the State falls short of expectations. "After suffering heavy damage because of the bird flu, dealing with the bank's monthly interest payments is impossible while I'm in debt to the feed agency and stock supplier," said one poultry farmer.

Indonesia's bird flu outbreak, which has killed up to 6.2 million chickens across the archipelago, is showing signs of abating. The director of veterinary health, said on Thursday that although new bird flu cases were still being recorded on Java and Bali islands, the overall numbers had fallen in recent months compared to the peak period late last year.

Vaccinating chickens may be the only way out of the bird flu nightmare in Asia says New Scientist. But it could also lead to the evolution of new strains, increasing the risk of a human pandemic. Only intensive surveillance can stop this happening, but experts say the countries affected do not have the necessary systems in place.
See also: Bird flu 'time bomb' warning

In Canada, all 275,000 chickens and turkeys on farms in a "hot zone" just north of the U.S. border will be killed in efforts to halt the spread of avian flu, authorities say. The move was announced Wednesday by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency after the virus was found on two more farms in the Fraser Valley east of Vancouver, bringing the total to five.

Healthy birds are getting too fat for barns in the massive avian flu control zone, reports This is leaving farmers with no choice but to start slaughtering 700,000 perfectly safe chicken next week. The birds will not go into food distribution, but will be rendered, costing local processors who've not been promised any sort of compensation C$3 million, .

US: In the face of recent avian influenza outbreaks and resulting import bans on US poultry, a partnership of government and industry groups is moving toward a major increase in testing for the disease in US flocks. It would be a voluntary program and would include testing for turkeys, broiler chickens, and layer chicken flocks throughout the US, reports CIDRAP News.

Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina are the three states being considered for a poultry processing plant that would employ more than 1,400 people, reports AP. Sanderson Farms chairman and chief executive Joe Sanderson said Tuesday that the company will make a decision in 30 to 60 days on where to locate an integrated poultry complex. Part of that complex is an $80 million processing plant.

For the first time since a lawsuit on the subject was settled, poultry farmers in northeast Oklahoma and northwest Arkansas can spread chicken waste on area fields. However, farms will require an environmental plan showing how much litter will be spread without threatening rivers, lakes and streams leading to the main water source.

A University of Illinois study examining roosters' reproductive tracts discovered that stones within the tracts impair fertility. The search for the cause of the stones has identified the problem being associated with a vaccine given chickens to prevent avian infectious bronchitis. The research has shown that the stones are formed as a previously-unknown side effect of the vaccine.

European Union vets will meet next week to review the bloc's ban on poultry imports from Canada and the US due to avian flu and may discuss limiting restrictions just to certain areas, officials said on Thursday.

In the Netherlands, the government has ordered the culling of 99 birds at a farm, the fourth this month, where tests have detected antibodies to a mild strain of bird flu, reports Reuters. The cull was ordered to stop any mild variant of avian flu from mutating into an aggressive form.

Health authorities had previously culled 600 ducks on a farm in the central Netherlands after tests showed that they had developed anti-bodies for bird flu, the Ministry of Agriculture said. “Even though this is almost certainly a harmless strain of the virus, the ministry is not willing to take any risks. The animals on the farm will be culled,” it said in a statement.

In Britain, an FSA survey of UK-produced eggs has found that the level of salmonella contamination is now one third of what it was in 1996. But one industry expert says that food manufacturers should still exercise caution, reports FoodProductionDaily.

Asian importers are turning to Australia to keep beef and chicken on the menu in the wake of the US mad-cow scare and the Asian bird flu. Distance has been the major historical drawback for Australia's meat exporters, but now it seems to be working in their favour as isolation and tough quarantine rules reduce the chances of an outbreak, says eFeedLink.

That's all for this week.

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