Up to 140,000 Chickens and Turkeys Culled in B.C.

Up to 140,000 Chickens and Turkeys Culled in B.C.

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turkeys in barn

Up to 140,000 chickens and turkeys culled in B.C. as officials try to contain outbreak of highly-contagious avian flu

With seven countries now turning away imports of Canadian poultry due to a Vancouver-area outbreak of avian flu, federal officials are rushing to contain the highly contagious virus before it can infect farms beyond the Fraser Valley.

While the virus is not dangerous to humans, it has the potential to kill off entire barns of poultry within a matter of days.

“To lose most of your flock within the span of a week is completely unheard of,” said Ray Nickel, president of the B.C. Poultry Association. “It’s hard to even visualize unless you’ve gone through and experienced it.”

Over the weekend, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency confirmed that five farms have become infected by a “high pathogen” strain of H5N2 never before seen on Canadian soil.

As of Sunday, all five properties were subjected to “biosecurity” quarantines as crews in HAZMAT suits destroyed as many as 140,000 chickens and turkeys.

As many as 90 additional poultry farms fall within the three-kilometre-wide quarantine zones established around the infected farms.

The stocks at these other farms will not be culled if no evidence of avian flu is found, but they are subject to strict conditions about moving their birds out of the Fraser Valley.

In a weekend statement, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said it has “mobilized all available resources to manage this situation.”

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