Title: Bird Flu Outbreak Continues: 1 Million Chickens to be Slaughtered on Minnesota Egg Farm
In a bid to contain the highly contagious bird flu, nearly 1 million chickens on a Minnesota egg farm will be slaughtered, marking the first case of the virus in an egg-laying operation this year. The farm, located in Wright County, Minnesota, joins smaller flocks in South Dakota and Iowa, where the virus has also been discovered.
To prevent the virus from spreading further, authorities have mandated the culling of entire flocks whenever the virus is detected on a farm. As a result, 26,800 turkeys will also be culled on a farm in McPherson County, South Dakota, and nearly 17,000 birds on two farms in Iowa’s Clay County.
The egg and poultry industry has been grappling with a bird flu outbreak since last year, leading to the slaughtering of approximately 58 million birds in 2022 alone. This has subsequently resulted in higher egg and turkey prices.
Despite the severity of the outbreak, the current year has seen a relatively lower impact, with only approximately 3.4 million birds being killed so far in 2023. Nevertheless, Minnesota has already lost over 5.5 million birds since the outbreak began, while Iowa, home to numerous large egg farms, has been the hardest hit, with over 16 million birds slaughtered.
The highly contagious nature of the virus poses a significant challenge for farmers, as it easily spreads through the droppings of wild birds or through direct contact. To prevent contact between their birds and wild birds, farmers have introduced various measures. These include requiring workers to change clothes and sanitize boots, limiting tool sharing between barns, and sealing facilities to prevent wildlife intrusion.
Officials stress that bird flu does not pose a threat to food safety, as all affected birds are slaughtered before reaching the food supply. Furthermore, proper cooking effectively kills any viruses present. Human infections are rare and typically occur in individuals who have had prolonged exposure to sick birds.
The battle against bird flu continues, with farmers and authorities working tirelessly to implement preventive measures and contain the spread of the virus. As the egg and poultry industry faces ongoing challenges, stakeholders remain vigilant to protect both the industry and consumers alike.
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