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Birds Need Your Help -- Demand Bird Flu Plan from Government Representatives

A bird flu plan and prevention has not been made widely available to people with small numbers of birds. Please contact your local representatives and ask them to do the following:

- Publish and widely distribute a clear list of minimal biosecurity standards that must be met for a flock to not be automatically killed. Usually, it simply involves preventing contact with wild birds.

- Develop and publish a procedure for testing a biosecure flock so it doesn't have to be culled.

- If there are not resources for testing all of the flocks, then create and implement a plan for increasing resources so all flocks can be tested.
Hi,

I was recently speaking with our state vets, agricultural commissioners, and government representatives about what they would do should bird flu be discovered in my county. I was told that the government would kill all of the chickens in my county, or they simply didn't know the answer. I have chickens and ducks, and I told them that I had implemented biosecurity precautions to prevent them from getting disease, such as bird flu. I asked, why wouldn't I be able to have the chickens tested before they were killed? I was told I could "request" it. That's not good enough for me.

I'm sure you've heard of the millions of chickens and other birds that have been killed due to past epidemics. What's interesting is that Europe has published guidelines to prevent transmission of bird flu between birds, but the US has not. What would happen should a pandemic of this kind come to our country? Probably all that would remain are the large factory farms with closed facilities. People with backyard pets and free-range or pastured operations will suffer heavy losses, and the factory farms would get a huge boost. Avian influenza is spread by migrating birds and their feces. What's more, it's not limited to farm animals; a parrot in England also tested positive for it.

Here is a statement by someone who has birds in Canada:

"When we had the AI [avian influenza] outbreak here the small flock owners were allowed to test at their own expence, had to be done every 2 weeks minimum, and then all birds in the 'hot zone' were culled anyway, regardless of test results. The lab tests were only offered to owners in the hot zone as they said they did not have the resources to do everyone, so it was just a waste of money and gave false hope. Hopefully with forward action you can make it work out for your area."

Please contact your local representatives and ask them to do the following:

- Publish and widely distribute a clear list of minimal biosecurity standards that must be met for a flock to not be automatically killed. Usually, it simply involves preventing contact with wild birds.

- Develop and publish a procedure for testing a biosecure flock so it doesn't have to be culled.

- If there are not resources for testing all of the flocks, then create and implement a plan for increasing resources so all flocks can be tested.

I think we need to be pro-active before a hysterical situation develops. (And hopefully it never will...)

Thanks!

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You can find your local (city/county) and state representatives, and their email addresses and phone numbers, here:

www.congress.org/congressorg/home/
 
 


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H5 Strain of Avian Flu Discovered in Canada on Oct 31!

"On 31 October 2005, Canada has discovered a strain of H5 avian flu in wild birds and is now checking whether it is the same H5N1 killer strain which has spread to Europe."

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H5N1
 

Re: Birds Need Your Help -- Demand Bird Flu Plan from Government Representatives

This is an important question for anyone with birds.

Since flu viruses can even be spread in the air, I'm curious what measures are being suggested to prevent transmission between wild and captive birds.
 

Re: Birds Need Your Help -- Demand Bird Flu Plan from Government Representatives

There are precautions you can take that reduce the risk significantly, but there is never 100% protection, unfortunately. It's worth implementing them, though. Here are some commonly suggested precautions:

- Prevent indoor birds and outdoor flocks from coming in contact with wild birds, most importantly, wild water birds and sea birds. Or at least have an area where you can put your birds should the need arise later. Ideally, it would prevent feces from falling in from above as well. So cover the tops of your runs.

- Change your shoes and clothes when you go to the feedstore or a place with birds. Even better, put your car through the car wash and take a shower.

- Wear special shoes when with the flock, and don't wear them anywhere else.

- Wash your hands and forearms before and after being with your flock.

- Restrict traffic and visitors onto your property.

These guidelines need to be made available to the general public, and largely the public is uneducated. In the coming weeks, the US federal government will be discussing their bird flu plan. You can be sure that the commercial egg industry will be lobbying. So call and email your representatives now and tell them to protect and educate people with small numbers of birds!
 

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