Months have passed since the last occurrence of the virus, but fall is coming, so U.S. officials reveal new methods of killing poultry in case of bird flu, a last resort method that has been highly protested against by the Humane Society.
It’s an unfortunate matter that many flocks need to be culled due to outbreaks of bird flu among the farms across the United States. Since December 2014 to June 2015, a number of 48 million turkeys and chickens were harvested because of the rapid infection and preventive measures that would contain the virus.
So far, there is not treatment or solution, and a vaccine is still in its infancy stages of development, with currently only the U.S. as a potential customer. However, it’s quite gravely needed after this year saw “the largest animal health even in our history”, and it might not be over just yet.
Spring has seen to numerous outbreaks around the country, and with the coming of fall, many birds will be migrating and possibly spreading the virus on farmlands to further infect birds meant for consumption or egg-laying.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has released their “Fall Preparedness and Response” plan for the upcoming months that will hopefully avoid this spring’s devastating losses.
Farmers are asked to take extra precautions, and make sure their equipment, clothes and vehicles alike are all disinfected before coming into contact with the birds. However, it might not be fully avoided, and the USDA has approved a new method in which an outbreak can be kept within the confines of just one flock.
Previous methods included euthanizing the birds in chambers with carbon dioxide or killed with foam that depleted them of oxygen, but another last-minute resort has been added just in case. If the existing techniques cannot be completed within 24 hours of the infection, farmers are allowed to use heat stress as a method of culling an entire barn of birds.
It implies turning up the heat inside and shutting off the ventilation system, that will mean between 30 to 40 minutes of pure scorching heat until the birds will finally die. According to T.J. Myers from the Agriculture Department, this method has never been used before and it is in their hopes that they will never have to.
The Humane Society has already protested the technique due to its pure cruelty because “it essentially bakes the birds to death”, according to Michael Blackwell, the group’s chief veterinary officer. It would only compound on the problem by subjecting the birds to a particularly miserable way to meet their end.
However, the USDA has stated that this was only the “necessary alternative” and the last resort within their urgent need to eradicate the virus and prevent another disaster for both the animals and the nation’s economy.
Image source: globalmeatnews.com