Avian flu continues to spread in Western Canada
There have been an increasing number of cases of avian flu in Western Canada.
According to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), as of September 14, there were 19 infected establishments in Alberta, 9 in British Columbia, 8 in Saskatchewan and 3 in Manitoba. Nearly 1.5 million birds were affected in these four provinces during the outbreak.
Ontario currently has 8 infected establishments.
Lisa Bishop-Spencer is Director of Brand and Communications for Chicken Farmers of Canada.
“As we expected, we have seen an increase in cases, this time from west to east, as opposed to east to west as the birds begin their migration south. We have seen a few additional cases in Colombia British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba,” she said.
Bishop-Spencer expects to see more cases emerge in the coming weeks.
She talked about the impact on producers.
“It’s a huge impact. It’s something we’ve had in the past, but we’ve never had it in several provinces. So now we’re facing a situation this year where we have a highly pathogenic virus The virus arrives in the farm in its highly pathogenic form, whereas before it was in a low pathogenic form, then it would mutate into a highly pathogenic form… This is the first time that we have dealt with this It is highly pathogenic in wild birds Usually these migratory birds, geese and poultry, which migrate usually carry this virus in its low pathogenic form, but it also kills these birds We are dealing with something completely new. It’s a new experience for everyone and it’s very stressful for the farmers.”
Bishop-Spencer had this advice for consumers.
“The general public should not worry. It’s not a food safety issue, it’s an animal health issue and we have to keep in mind that the chicken that consumers pick up at their grocery store or eat in their restaurants is perfectly safe.”
She added this message for farmers.
“I think it’s very important that they work with their provincial boards and with the CFIA and that we do everything we can to really try to control the situation as best we can.”