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International Egg and Poultry Review

by 5m Editor
7 April 2004, at 12:00am

By the USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service - This is a weekly report looking at international developments concerning the poultry industry, this week looking at the AI situation in British Columbia.

International Egg and Poultry Review - By the USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service - This is a weekly report looking at international developments concerning the poultry industry, this week looking at the AI situation in British Columbia.

Avian Influenza Spreads in British Columbia

On Friday, April 2, officials realized the avian influenza had spread faster and farther than previously believed. The number of farms confirmed to have avian influenza grew from eight on Thursday to 18 on Friday. Minister of Agriculture Bob Speller announced the order to depopulate all commercial poultry and other birds in captivity within the Fraser Valley Control Area in British Columbia on April 5. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) had recommended the cull to stop the spread of the disease and to stamp it out.

The announcement covers an area established on March 11, 2004 in response to the initial discovery of highly pathogenic avian influenza in the province. The virus found at the first farm in February was originally diagnosed as a low-pathogenic version of avian influenza, however it later muted to a high-path version.

After the area has been depopulated and the farms disinfected, there would be a 21 day waiting period to ensure the disease is gone. Rick Thiessen, president of the B.C. Chicken growers Association, said repopulating the Fraser Valley could begin in six months, with full production having to wait 24 to 30 months.

Around 19 million birds on roughly 600 commercial farms will be destroyed over the next few months. About 80 percent of the poultry industry in British Columbia is in the control area and represents15 percent of the national chicken market. Poultry from non-infected flocks can be processed and made available to sale. According to one source, the industry is losing an average of $3 million a week and hatcheries are losing close to $300,000 a week.


The CFIA has taken legal steps that require poultry owners maintain strict controls over who and what can enter their property. Vehicles and equipment must be disinfected before and after entering the property. Improperly cleaned and sanitized vehicles, equipment and clothing can carry the virus.

Alberta producers adopted a mandatory program to help control any similar outbreaks two years ago. All 288 producers are required to meet strict guidelines to be licensed. Chicken producers in Alberta are taking precautions such as spraying down tires with disinfectant, restricting visitors and avoiding contact with other poultry operations. Alberta has the advantage of a colder, drier climate which keeps some migratory birds away and farms are spread farther apart.

Nearly 40 countries have restricted imports of Canadian poultry due to the B.C. outbreak. In 2002, Canada exported about 119 million kilograms of chicken meat.

Source: Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Chicken Farmers of Canada, various news wires

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Eradicated in Texas

On April 1, 2004, USDA informed the Office International des Epizooties (OIE) of the complete eradication of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in Gonzales County, Texas. All States, Territories, and regions in the United States are free of HPAI.

Source: APHIS/USDA

To view the full report, including tables please click here (PDF Format)

Source: USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service - 6th April 2004

5m Editor