Rare Chickens Euthanased Because of Exotic Disease

AUSTRALIA - A flock of fancy chickens, currently housed in a secure quarantine facility, will be euthanased because the birds are infected with an exotic strain of Salmonella that cannot be effectively treated.
calendar icon 26 July 2013
clock icon 3 minute read

The syndicate behind the importation, the Australian Rare Poultry Importation Syndicate Inc (ARPIS),informed the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) it consented to the destruction of the flock. The syndicate relinquished ownership of the flock on the understanding the chickens would be destroyed.

Australia’s import protocols require an absence of Salmonella pullorum and a number of other diseases exotic to Australia for any chickens to pass through quarantine.

This is because eggs and birds pose a high disease risk to Australian birds and related industries, which are worth more than A$2.5 billion a year.

Salmonella pullorum is an exotic, infectious disease that can cause reproductive issues, wasting and death and our export markets typically require a declaration that Australia is free of the Salmonella strain to allow us to export.

The presence of the disease in the flock was confirmed a few weeks ago through a culture test which grew the Salmonella pullorum strain from a pooled sample from a number of birds. This testing was conducted under quarantine conditions from samples of dead chicks by Australia's premier testing facility at CSIRO’s Australian Animal Health Laboratory.

ARPIS conceded the need to destroy the chickens after DAFF allowed it to conduct its own additional blood tests to provide the syndicate with more information about the extent of the disease in the consignment.

The importer managed all the birds as a single flock so no birds could be assumed to be free from the disease. Australia requires birds to be free from the disease for two generations before import is allowed because birds can remain symptom free until maturity or until they are under stress.

The Federal Court of Australia’s injunction has been removed and DAFF will start to destroy the flock under veterinary supervision soon.

While the decision to destroy the flock is unfortunate, it is an example of Australia’s biosecurity system working.

All animals imported into Australia are subject to rigorous health and quarantine checks in accordance with strict import conditions.

The purpose of a quarantine facility is to detect, manage and prevent the escape of exotic pests or diseases into Australia.

Australia has a robust biosecurity system – which is based on rigorous science – and provides a high level of protection for our primary industries and environment while also maintaining Australia’s reputation as a strong trading nation.

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