Decisive action to eradicate avian influenza

Canadian Poultry
January 10, 2008
By Canadian Poultry
The Saskatchewan Poultry Industry Emergency Management Team (SPIEMT) congratulates all parties on their quick and decisive action to eradicate the avian influenza virus found this fall near Regina Beach. The group also requests that additional discussions be held between industry and government regarding the prohibitive costs of cleaning and disinfection.
Since industry and government came together in 2004 on issues of animal disease, all parties have worked to ensure that protocols were implemented to enhance biosecurity standards and to implement all necessary steps to eliminate viruses. This hard work was clearly demonstrated in the immediate and effective measures currently being taken to control and stamp out the Saskatchewan avian influenza virus, and all parties involved have been commended for their efforts.

Now, though, there is a need for continued discussions on the issue of the substantial costs involved with the cleaning and disinfection process.

“The Health of Animals Act assists farmers, to some degree, reclaim some costs from the destruction of their animals,” says Joy Smith, General Manager of the Saskatchewan Egg Producers, “But that’s not where the eradication process ends. Ensuring that the infected premise is appropriately cleaned and disinfected is critical to ensuring confidence in both government and industry biosecurity systems, and should be a shared responsibility. We’ve done so well in setting up protocols to deal with the virus; now, we look forward to working with the government to cooperatively deal with its aftermath.”

An example of these challenges is this latest situation in Saskatchewan, in which the owner of the infected premise finds himself responsible for the expense of its cleaning and disinfection. The SPIEMT funding organizations* have come together to assist the producer by providing financial support up to the amount of $100,000 to assist in this process.

Clinton Monchuk, CEO of the Chicken Farmers of Saskatchewan, Broiler Hatching Egg Producers and co-chair of SPIEMT, says that this is an emergency action taken to assist the farmer cope with the financial burden he faces. “We see this as an ad-hoc measure that industry needed to take to help this individual immediately,” says Monchuk, “But, we hope that in future, we can work with both provincial and federal governments to come to a cooperative approach to ensuring that animal disease emergencies are effectively dealt with, from start to finish.”

The poultry industry and the producers are anticipating that the cleaning and disinfection will be complete by the end of January next year.

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