Bird flu threatens New Brunswick’s poultry industry

Strictly improved biosafety measures have been underway since February at Westco Group’s facilities.

For example, workers have to change clothes and boots when moving from one company to another. People who come and go on commercial farms are also extremely limited.

Thomas Soucy hoped biosafety measures could ease a bit in the spring. This is not the casehe said. We are constantly reminded that the disease is present […] it is very very worrying.

One of the sharpest reminders in New Brunswick is the hundreds and hundreds of sole bodies found on beaches across the province in recent weeks.

Progress in cases of avian influenza

Bird flu is spreading rapidly among wildlife in North America.

In addition to wild birds, domestic populations are also endangered. The disease is highly contagious between different bird species, including poultry, on farms.

If contact between wild birds and domestic birds is possible, there may be infections. The virus has already killed a large number of birds across Canada, and there have been outbreaks on breeding farmssays the pathologist from the Canadian Wildlife Health Network Megan Jones.

Additional precautions have been taken by Groupe Westco in Saint-François-de-Madawaska to prevent bird flu from spreading within commercial farms.

Photo: Radio Canada

The H5N1 strain of bird flu has actually been detected in poultry farms in western Canada.

Chicken Farmers of Canada Communications Director Lisa Hak Spencerindicates that this is the first time that cases of bird flu have been reported in several Canadian provinces at the same time.

In addition, many of these infections are associated with wild birds, whereas their spread was usually more common through domestic birds, from farm to farm.

In all, nearly two million birds from commercial farms have been killed so far, the Canadian Food Inspectorate says to stop the spread (CFIA).

In case of outbreak

Bird flu is often spread through secretions and excrement from migratory wild birds.

Despite the precautions taken by the Westco Group, tensions are running high. And with good reason: the virus can destroy an entire commercial farm in a matter of days.

We are still not surelaunches Thomas Soucy. It’s still very alarming, it can get in through the air. There may be excrement which has dried on the outside and then turned to dust and then comes in with the wind, they come in with the ventilation system.

President and CEO of Groupe Westco, Thomas Soucy. Westco Group is one of the largest poultry production organizations in Canada.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Alexandre Silberman

When a case of bird flu is detected on a commercial farm, a protocol is very quickly put in place byCFIA to stop the spread. Birds in the affected area are being killed and birds in the surrounding areas are in quarantine.

According to Thomas Soucy, the Westco group would need a year and a half to come back if the virus affected the facilities in Saint-François-de-Madawaska.

In New Brunswick, only small non-commercial chicken farms have been affected by bird flu so far.

Outbreaks on commercial farms will affect the supply chain.

Moreover, the authorities are not too concerned about the transmission of the virus among humans.

With information from the radio program The morning and the report by Alexandre Silberman of CBC

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