NAEF Requests USDA Take Steps Now On Avian Influenza
April 15, 2015
Dr. Catherine Woteki
Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, DC 20250
Dear Madam Secretary:
Thank you in behalf of the National Association of Egg Farmers, for your initiative in implementing the Twitter discussion tomorrow (#chickenchat2015) to provide help to farmers dealing with the growing threat of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI). The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has reported outbreaks in 13 states including yesterday in a flock of turkeys in Buena Vista County Iowa. This area is also home to many large commercial egg farms.
The poultry industry appreciates the fact that the USDA helps protect the health of the nation’s livestock and poultry by responding to major animal disease events such as this, helping to keep dangerous diseases from spreading as the #chickenchat2015 will help with suggestions, and reducing the economic impact of disease events.
We suggest USDA implement three important steps to further this mission:
1)Temporarily mandate that free-ranging poultry be broughtHPAI is spreading along the Central and Mississippi flyways due to waterfowl who can be asymptomatic but still carriers of the virus. Poultry with outdoor access will only exacerbate the continued spread of this virus.
2)Provide indemnification for the whole flock and not just the survivingThis will incentivize farmers to come forward quickly when they suspect infection.
3)Publish a transcript of #chickenchat2015Many farmers are not on Twitter and will miss out on this important discussion for protecting their poultry.