Agriculture Roundup for Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Nov 24, 2023

Poultry farmers in British Columbia’s Fraser Valley are reporting extremely high levels of stress as the latest avian flu outbreak puts millions of commercial birds at risk.

Amanda Brittain with the B.C. Poultry Association said farmers are taking extra precautions, including disinfecting any vehicles travelling to and from their properties and wearing personal protective gear.

CFIA reported roughly five million birds have been affected this fall meaning they’ve died or been culled.

Agriculture Minister Pam Alexis said the B.C. government has been working with farmers and CFIA on preventing further infections and added a $5-million program this spring to help improve bio-security at farms.

Provincial health officer Bonnie Henry has urged poultry workers to get their flu shots, since there’s concern that a rare human infection could cause the virus to mutate into something more contagious among people.

She said farmers are isolating themselves from each other to avoid spreading the virus and resorting to online platforms to discuss how to handle the outbreak.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) said there have been 39 infected commercial and backyard flocks in B.C. since Oct. 20, as wild birds migrate south over the farms, spreading the disease.

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