Canadian Poultry Magazine

Federal government invests $1.81M to combat avian influenza threat in B.C.

By Canadian Poultry magazine   

News Disease watch

BC Poultry Association gears up for future avian influenza outbreaks with federal funding.

Avian influenza continues to be a significant threat to poultry production in Canada.

This week, the federal government announced it was investing $1.81 million over three years to support the British Columbia (BC) Poultry Association’s preparation for direct participation in responses to future outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in the province.

The BC Poultry Association represents the supply-managed regulated poultry sectors – chicken, turkey, table egg, and hatching eggs – on common issues to support the commercial poultry sector.

HPAI is a significant risk for the poultry industry across Canada. The most recent outbreak of HPAI was unprecedented in terms size, geographical distribution and duration.

Within B.C., there is a highly concentrated production zone in the Fraser Valley, which is also located in the Pacific flyway for migratory birds and home to a significant number of wild birds year-round.

These unique factors require strong farm biosecurity at all times and an effective, timely disease response when there is an outbreak of HPAI.

This investment will support the BC Poultry Association in:

  • Creating and implementing standard operating procedures (SOPs) for comprehensive training, personal protection equipment (PPE) inventories and rotation, secondary destruction methods and hiring contractors;
  • Creating and tendering a contract for a primary supplier for destruction, biocontainment and training as well as secondary destruction capacity to assist if there is a surge in infected premises;
  • Developing a partnership with BC AgSafe to assist with worker safety during training and annual fit tests for workers requiring PPE; and
  • Developing and building strategic partnerships with BC Ministry of Agriculture and Food, processors and allied trades for an effective HPAI response.

This investment will enable industry-led destruction and biocontainment activities that will be completed with oversight from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) so that overall response capacity is expanded without increased risk for animal welfare or disease spread.

“The BC Poultry Association would like to recognize the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s funding to increase industry’s response ability during an outbreak of avian influenza,” Steve Heppell, chair, BC Poultry Association.

“Upon completion of this three-year project, we will have improved capacity to respond to future detections, with at least two companies with multiple teams that are fully trained in worker safety, humane destruction, and biocontainment.”

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