'Bird Flu Farm' Quarantined

CANADA - A Manitoba poultry farm involved in the H5N2 avian influenza investigation was quarantined after a reporter breached biosecurity standards.
calendar icon 14 December 2010
clock icon 4 minute read

Portage Online reports Bill Uruski, chair of the Manitoba Turkey Producers, says the Canadian Food Inspection Agency was forced to quarantine one operation after a member of the media visited multiple farms, including the infected farm in the RM of Rockwood.

He said: "At that point in time, CFIA did not have its security people in place yet. The vehicle drove into the yard and then moved onto another yard. It was a result of that movement that the second premise had to be tested and placed under quarantine," says Uruski.

The reporter did not enter either of the barns. The test results came back negative and the birds at the second site have since been sent to market.

Mr Uruski says the H5N2 discovery is having a major impact on the turkey industry.

With the main hatchery in the province also quarantined, he says producers are bracing for a shortage of turkey poults over the next 30 to 60 days.

He added: "A decision was made to depopulate the hatchery entirely of its egg supply, even though science says the virus cannot travel within eggs. A lot of our egg production and poults move south of the border and the border politics are much more severe than the science.

"The decision was made to remove all the eggs from the hatchery. The process of cleaning and disinfecting is now underway.

The timeframe is an additional seven days of total cleanout and retesting and then the hatchery can be started up again."

In the meantime, a heated warehouse has been set up to store eggs during the clean-out process.

Mr Uruski continued: "It will affect producers to some degree because the longer you hold eggs, it affects the fertility and the hatchability."

The stockpiled eggs will only be placed in the incubator when the hatchery re-opens.

The federal government will be compensating producers for the cost of the destroyed birds.

"The producer will be covered for the cost of the birds, but not lost income. There are some phenomenal costs and implications for the farm family that has been affected. We are raising some of those areas with both levels of government to see what else can be done to help this family," he says.

Overall, Mr Uruski says that turkey producers are pleased with the response and cooperation following the discovery, reports Portage Online.

"Right now, I want to say that we have received excellent cooperation and assistance, both from the province and the federal people who are involved in this. We will sit down once the smoke has cleared and do a post-analysis, but at this point in time we can only say with utmost surity that as many steps as we could have envisaged in the investigation process have been taken," he concluded.

Further Reading

- Go to our previous news item on this story by clicking here.

Further Reading

- You can visit the Avian Flu page by clicking here.
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