The Canadian Peregrine Foundation

Canada to slaughter 19 million birds in British Columbia
due to avian flu

From: North American Falconry Association
Sent: Wednesday, April 07, 2004 1:07 PM

Canadian Agriculture Minister Bob Speller said this afternoon that he has authorized officials to depopulate all commercial poultry farms
and backyard flocks in the Fraser Valley in southern British Columbia.

He also ordered strict biosecurity measures and movement restrictions in the region in an attempt to halt the spread of avian influenza. The
order means that an estimated 18.5 million birds on 600 commercial poultry operations and 500,000 birds in backyard flocks will be
destroyed -- covering more than 80% of British Columbia's commercial flock of chickens, layers, turkeys and parent stock.

"Due to the rapidly spreading nature of avian influenza, it is clear that a more aggressive approach is needed to control this highly
contagious bird disease," Speller told reporters in Ottawa, Ont. "This is not a decision I take lightly, but it is important for the long-term
viability of the poultry industry." Officials would not estimate how long it will take to complete the depopulation.

From NAFA Medical Editor / Raptor Center Director Dr. Pat Redig:
This is an H7 serotype of avian influenza which also goes by the name of fowl plague -- its very pathogenic and obviously the Canadian officials are taking it very seriously. Would advise all falconers and breeders to avoid any and all contact with pigeons and poultry (including quail) in the area until this blows over. It will take a long time to kill 19 million birds , so this will be an issue for quite awhile. I will work to find out more about what the extent of the intent is. 

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