Poultry farmers warned to move millions of birds

by 5m Editor
19 June 2006, at 12:00am

CANADA - The best way to protect B.C.&#39;s $400-million poultry industry from being devastated by another bird-flu outbreak is for farmers to move millions of their birds out of the high-density Fraser Valley, an official with the Agriculture Ministry advised his superiors in an e-mail last year. &quot;The B.C. poultry industry needs to investigate a risk-management strategy to move [some birds] to locations outside the Fraser Valley,&quot; Stewart Paulson, a poultry industry specialist with the B.C. government, wrote in an e-mail on May 27, 2005. &quot;Such location strategies may prove effective to reduce the cost of an outbreak and [improve] the speed of recovery.&quot; Paulson&#39;s e-mail -- obtained by The Vancouver Sun through the Freedom of Information Act -- was sent to several senior officials in the ministry, including Chief Veterinarian Ron Lewis and Harvey Sasaki, assistant deputy minister for risk management. In 2004, a massive outbreak of bird flu in the Fraser Valley led to the culling of 17 million birds -- at a cost of $60 million in federal government compensation to farmers. And in November, after Paulson&#39;s e-mail was written, a second outbreak of bird flu at two farms in the valley led to the culling of more than 60,000 birds. <i>Source:</i>

5m Editor