US - The "ventilation shutdown" method of poultry house depopulation should be available quickly in the event of another avian flu outbreak, the Georgia Congressman Doug Collins has urged in a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
In the US Department of Agriculture's report on preparedness for a future outbreak, ventilation shutdown was noted as not the preferred method of depopulation, but as a method that could be used on a case-by-case basis.
Ventilation shutdown could be used to kill infected flocks by removing the airflow, causing poultry houses to rapidly heat up. The method has been criticised by animal welfare organisations since the report was released.
In the letter, Mr Collins asks for assurance that ventilation shutdown would be available to use in a timely manner. He explains that unlike other, standard depopulation methods: "ventilation shutdown requires no specialised equipment or personnel and it can be implemented immediately if necessary."
He also emphasises the USDA's own recommendation that infected flocks should be depopulated as soon as possible, saying that ventilation shutdown would provide greater flexibility to do this.
He concludes: "I ask that you consider updating the Fall 2015 Plan to include ventilation shutdown as an accepted standard method for depopulation, should such measures become necessary.
"I believe this step will provide states and industry with greater flexibility to react in a timely manner to an outbreak, could protect flocks by preventing the spread of disease, and could help to mitigate economic damages."
Read the full letter by clicking here.