April 6, 2004, just-food.com: Hoping
to stem the spread of bird flu, Canadian officials have
order a massive cull that will affect around 80% of the
British Columbia’s poultry producers. Around 19
million chickens and turkeys in Fraser Valley will be
Columbia struggles with bird flu
April 5, 2004, just-foom.com: Avian
influenza has so far been found on eighteen
commercial poultry farms in Fraser Valley,
British Columbia, Canadian officials reported
as they struggle to get the outbreaks under
“We cannot be certain at this time
that we are on top of the situation. Further
time will be required and we are working
creatively, flexibly and passionately to
consider new protocols and industry approaches,”
Brian Evans, of the Canadian Food Inspection
Agency, was quoted by the Canadian Press
Evans said the disease had probably been
brought to the region by wild waterfowl
but was now being spread by human activity.
Around 400,000 chickens have been slaughtered
already in a bid to halt the spread of the
disease, but the latest discoveries are
likely to lead to further culls.
Some poultry producers have suggested a
cull of the entire poultry population of
Fraser Valley, which would include around
16 million birds.
The cull became necessary after the disease spread
beyond a controlled hot-zone surrounding the first infected
farms. Last week the disease spread to two farms outside
the zone, and within days the number of infected farms
rose to 18, many of which were outside the control zone.
Officials were struggling to catch up with the spread
of the disease and a mass slaughter is the only realistic
way to stop its spread, said Jim Clarke, a spokesman
for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency as reported
by the Associated Press.
Four of British Columbia’s poultry groups, BC
Chicken Growers Association, BC Broiler Hatching Egg
Producers, BC Egg Producers and BC Turkey Producers,
said they supported the plans.
"Our main goal is to stamp out avian influenza
and rebuild our industry," said Ray Nickel, president
of the BC Poultry Committee. "Although these measures
are drastic, we feel they are necessary to eradicate
the disease among affected flocks. We will continue
to work together with the CFIA and the provincial and
federal government to implement these plans."
The British Columbia poultry industry has already lost
C$10m (US$7.6m) to date due to avian influenza and the
depopulation plan is expected to cost the industry hundreds
of millions of dollars. The poultry industry in British
Columbia is worth more than C$800m (US$609.6m) per year
and the bulk of production is situated in the Fraser
Poultry producers and processors have appealed to the
provincial and federal governments for financial assistance
to help the industry recover.