CFIA to cull 27,000 chickens at southern Ont. farm
Published Sunday, April 19, 2015 10:32AM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, April 19, 2015 8:07PM EDT
The Canadian Food Inspection agency will be euthanizing 27,000 chickens on a southern Ontario farm after confirming the presence of H5 avian influenza, the second case this month.
The inspection agency confirmed Saturday that it had placed a broiler breeder chicken farm in Oxford County under quarantine, to control the spread of the disease.
According to the CFIA, initial tests were done at the University of Guelph on Friday, after birds on the farm suddenly died over several days. The agency could not confirm the exact number of birds that had died from the virus.
All of the birds on the farm will be humanely destroyed and disposed of, the agency said.
The CFIA will also perform further tests to determine the subtype and strain of the virus. Tests will also be performed to confirm the severity of the disease, the agency said in a statement.
This was the second time this month the CFIA confirmed the presence of the avian influenza on a farm in Oxford County.
Ontario farmer Mark Reusser, who owns approximately 36,000 turkeys, says the disease poses a grave threat to the province's poultry industry.
"This endangers our livelihood," said Reusser, who is also an executive member of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture. "Without healthy birds, we can’t make a living."
He adds that he and other farmers are taking heightened bio-security measures since the CFIA confirmed the presence of the disease.
"When we move from outside into the barn, we change our boots, we change our clothes, we make sure that nothing from the outside enters the barn," Reusser told CTV Kitchener on Sunday.
The CFIA says there's no known link between the two infected farms, but suspects the virus may have been transmitted by migratory water fowls.
Earlier this month, 29 Ontario poultry farms were put under quarantine after the CFIA confirmed it had found H5 avian influenza on a turkey farm in Woodstock, Ont.
Approximately 10,000 turkeys on that farm had died of the disease, and CFIA officials euthanized 35,000 birds to stop the virus from spreading.
After putting the turkey farm under quarantine, the agency expanded the control zone to include a 10-kilometre radius from the infected area.
Avian flu rarely affects humans that do not come into close contact with infected birds. It also does not pose a risk when poultry products are properly handled and cooked, according to the CFIA.
With files from CTV Kitchener’s Carina Sledz and The Canadian Press