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ThePoultrySite Newsletter - 29th August 2005

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Monday 29th August 2005
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* News Overview (link to ALL this weeks news)

Early this week saw the first case of suspected bird flu at a major farm in the Omsk region in Siberia's west, the Agriculture Ministry said Monday. Until now, the virus had only been discovered on small, private farms.
     On Wednesday, the agriculture minister then confirmed the bird flu virus had been found in wild duck in a seventh Siberian province, however the minister said that its spread had been curbed.
     About 140,000 thousand birds have been slaughtered since the first bird flu cases were registered in Western Siberia, and Interfax are reporting the Bird flu damage in Russia is preliminarily estimated at nearly 38 million rubles (US$1.3m).

In Finland, the Agriculture Ministry said on Saturday Europe was not yet suffering the highly pathogenic strain of bird flu after the country discovered a possible outbreak in seagulls.
     Officials say that the virus in question is probably a weak low-pathogen version, which does not spread as easily as the more dangerous variation. The Helsinki laboratory of the National Veterinary and Food Research Institute of Finland (EELA) published the results of its study on Friday. Final confirmation is expected in three weeks once the EU’s Reference Laboratory in Britain has examined the samples.

In Viet Nam the government has just asked localities nationwide to accelerate bird flu vaccination among fowls so that it can be completed before December.
     Fowls, mainly chickens and ducks, in 47 out of 64 cities and provinces must be vaccinated against bird flu viruses. The total fund for vaccinating over 200 million fowls in the 2005-2006 is estimated at 700 billion Vietnamese dong (44.3 million US dollars). Vietnam imports the vaccines from China and the Netherlands.
     According to local veterinary agencies, up to 70 percent of waterfowls in the southern Mekong delta have been recently tested positive to H5N1.

Separately, Bird flu has killed three rare cat-like civets born in captivity at a national park in Viet Nam, marking the first time the virus has been reported in the species, officials said Friday.
     Scientists suspect that SARS, which killed nearly 800 people worldwide in 2003, was passed to humans from civets and other mongoose-like animals sold in live food markets in southern China.

Medical experts in southern China said Friday that Bird flu now poses a bigger and more worrying threat to people than SARS.
     The main reason being that humans had learned how to effectively control the spread of SARS, but had not done the same for bird flu, which can be spread by wild birds.

Dow Jones reports the European Commission as saying it considered only a "low to remote" chance that the virus will reach Europe this year. If it does, it believes the first areas hit will be Denmark, the UK and Germany.
     Germany, along with Holland and other countries are taking the risks seriously and have put contingencies in place. However in the UK, Defra has said the situation in Russia is a cause for concern but "the risk of the virus spreading into the EU via migrating birds is remote or low." This is despite a number of experts expressing a rather different opinion.

Meanwhile, fears that mild strains of bird flu can mutate and fatally infect humans have prompted the UK Government to push for the early adoption of a new Europe-wide initiative to combat the threat, reports the Observer.
     The present European Commission directive designed to curtail the threat of bird flu is concerned only with 'high pathogenic' strains, but there are growing concerns that these can originate from 'low pathogenic' strains which can be transmitted to poultry from wild birds.
     Experts say that it is only a matter of time before wild birds bring bird flu to the UK. 'Wild birds that have migratory pathways over Europe and the UK will become infected. It is inevitable bird flu will be carried to this country,' Bob McCracken, president of the British Veterinary Association, warned last week.

SEE: Latest Bird Flu News for all this news and more...

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In the US, the federal government and the commercial farming industry are beginning to take action to protect the effectiveness of antibiotics in people by restricting their use in farm animals, reports The Boston Globe. At the end of July, the Food and Drug Administration told the poultry industry to stop using the antibiotic Baytril, which is effective against many different germs, fearing that its continued use would weaken the use of similar antibiotics in people.
     And earlier this month, pig-farming giant Smithfield Foods announced it would reduce the number of antibiotics it feeds its animals. McDonald's, and several other restaurant chains, already prefer to buy meat raised with reduced levels of antibiotics. Federal legislation is pending to help wean farmers off the use of the drugs the paper says.

After experiencing some of the best chicken prices ever in the past two years, the Delmarva Daily Times reports the poultry industry is expected to see prices slip 3% this year. An increased supply of beef and lower meat prices forecast for later this year and into 2006 are expected to drag down poultry prices, economists said.
     The waning popularity of protein diets such as Atkins, which rely heavily on chicken and other meat, is expected to slow down the growth of domestic per capita consumption, a record 84 pounds last year.

The preliminary estimate of turkeys raised in the United States during 2005 is 256 million, down 3% from the number raised during 2004., report the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). Top producing state, Minnesota, at 44.5 million birds, is expected to raise the largest number of any state, showing a 2% decrease from last year. North Carolina ranks second with 36.0 million birds, down 8% from 2004.

In this weeks US Broiler Hatchery Report broiler chicks were down slightly and broiler-type eggs set were up slightly. Average hatchability for chicks hatched during the week was 83 percent.

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Animal advocates in the US denounced the passage of the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement as a “deadly disaster” for farmed animals and wildlife. Prior to the vote, a letter signed by over 100 animal organizations was sent to every member of the House condemning DR-CAFTA.
     Activists charge that the agreement will lead to massive expansion of cruel and unsanitary “factory farm” agriculture. This intensive confinement industrial production system is responsible for the vast majority of pig, chicken, turkey and egg products produced in the United States, but is still uncommon in Central America.
     DR-CAFTA will force member countries to eliminate tariffs and sanitary barriers on U.S. agricultural imports, allowing U.S. agribusiness to flood these countries with cheap pork, beef, chicken, eggs, turkey and dairy products.

In Australia, Tasmania's poultry producers are being urged to vaccinate their birds against newcastle disease. Compulsory vaccination will come into effect in Tasmania later this year for commercial poultry producers with more than 1,000 birds. But the state's chief veterinary officer, Rod Andrewartha, says a permit system is in place allowing producers to start vaccinating now.

In the UK the OIE reports "surveillance for Newcastle disease has been completed with negative results and area restrictions were removed from 25 August 2005.
    This was a single introduction of disease from a source outside the United Kingdom. Control measures put in place were fully effective, limiting the incident to a single outbreak. There were no secondary cases."

The Orissa State Government in India has accorded agriculture status to poultry farming throwing open the sector for more incentives and employment avenues reports NewIndPress.
     Fisheries and Animal Resources Development Minister Golak Behari Nayak has directed the officials to create awareness at district-levels about the financial incentives that new status will bring in for the poultry farmers. The Minister pointed out that the sector has huge potential in the State as Orissa fails to meet its requirement of eggs and broilers.

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The world is eating more meat than ever before with the pork and poultry sectors the biggest winners from the growing demand, reports Australian Broadcaster, ABC. On average, every person now consumes more than 41 kilograms of meat each year, double the amount in the 1970s. Australia's consumption of chicken now rivals beef.
     Dr Andreas Dubs from the Australian Chicken Meat Federation says the industry has become more efficient to keep up with demand.
     "Genetically the chickens that we are using are improving all the time, so there's an ongoing program of improvement for chickens to grow better meat more efficiently," he said.

Chicken processing took a leap forward or backward (depending on your view) this week with University of Georgia poultry science professor Daniel Fletcher saying he had found a way to turn dark chicken meat into white where it could be used as a filler in processed foods such as chicken nuggets. Read on ... to find out how!

* Feature Articles Overview (link to features listings)

We have 3 features this week.

Effective Biosecurity: The Case for Compliance and Regional Perspective
By W.E. Morgan Morrow, North Carolina State University - This year at the annual meeting of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians in Toronto, Canada, Dr. Jena-Pierre Vaillancourt of the Poultry Health Management Team, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Montreal, Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec gave an invited lecture: Effective biosecurity: The case for compliance and regional perspective.

An overview of Infectious Bronchitis
By Stephen A Lister and published by DuPont Animal Health Solutions - Infectious bronchitis (IB) was first identified in 1931 in the USA as a "new respiratory disease of baby chicks". The agent was later identified as a coronavirus in view of its "sun like" appearance under the microscope. Egg production and egg quality problems were first attributed to the same virus in 1951 and a syndrome of kidney damage in 1962.

US Poultry Outlook Report - August 2005
By U.S.D.A., Economic Research Service - This article is an extract from the August 2005: Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook Report, highlighting Global Poultry Industry data.

That's all for this week.


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