One-fourth of U.S. losses to bird flu in outbreaks that began in early 2022 were recorded in the past three months, when the viral disease staged a resurgence, according to USDA data released on Thursday. Some 20.9 million birds were culled in infected domestic flocks from October through December to prevent the spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza.
Irked by California’s Proposition 12, seven farm-state senators announced legislation on Thursday to prohibit states from regulating agricultural production in other states. Virtually anyone — producer, distributor, trade group, transporter, consumer, and laborer were named in the bill — would be empowered to challenge such regulatory infringement in court and seek financial compensation.
The Agriculture Department has spent $450 million to combat this year’s outbreak of bird flu, but losses among domestic flocks are nearing the record set seven years ago in the largest-ever U.S. animal health emergency. The outbreak has driven up egg prices and tightened the supply of holiday turkeys.
For the first time, researchers have tracked the movements of a wild duck infected with bird flu, information that could help them come up with disease mitigation strategies against the viral disease, said the U.S. Geological Survey on Wednesday. More than 47.7 million birds in U.S. domestic flocks have died in outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza since February.
Bird flu was discovered in a backyard flock in the Albuquerque area, making New Mexico the 42nd state where the viral disease has been confirmed this year, said the Agriculture Department on Thursday.
Massachusetts officials will wait for a Supreme Court ruling on California’s Proposition 12 animal welfare rules before enforcing similar regulations that would ban the sale of pork from out-of-state farms that do not give hogs enough room to lie down, stand up, fully extend their legs, or turn around freely.
While this year’s outbreaks of bird flu, the worst in seven years, are following the usual pattern of dissipating during hot weather, it’s too early to declare the threat over, said the Agriculture Department on Wednesday.
As bird flu losses topped 35 million fowl, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said on Thursday that the USDA has paid about $146 million in indemnities to poultry owners, with an additional $263 million available. “That’s about half of where we were in 2014-2015 with the last outbreak,” he said.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack approved the second infusion of additional funding to the agency fighting outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza from the Atlantic to the Rockies, said the USDA on Wednesday.
Laboratory tests confirmed highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in three additional states, Pennsylvania, Idaho and Utah, with losses in domestic flocks nearing 27.4 million birds, said the Agriculture Department. The first outbreak in Pennsylvania, at an egg farm in Lancaster County, was announced two days after the state banned poultry shows at county and local fairs for 60 days.
Nearly 5 percent of the egg-laying hens in the United States have died in outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza in the past six weeks, said USDA data on Wednesday. Egg prices were rising faster than the overall rate of food inflation, though there was an ample supply ahead of Easter and Passover.
Some 417,600 turkeys will be culled due to outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza on 11 farms over the weekend, said the Agriculture Department on Monday. The outbreaks helped raise the U.S. toll from the viral disease to 22.85 million birds, most of them chickens.
In three weeks, outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) have killed more than 4 percent of the egg-laying chickens in America. "Egg availability may be limited leading into Easter," traditionally a high-demand period for eggs, said analysts at rural lender CoBank.
To prevent spread of a deadly poultry disease, the Agriculture Department urged bird owners on Thursday to practice good biosecurity and to consider keeping their birds indoors all day. Fourteen million birds in domestic flocks have died in outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza since Feb. 8.
More than three years ago, California voters approved Proposition 12, guaranteeing sows, veal calves and egg-laying hens more room to move about and barring the sale of eggs, veal and pork from farms, even in other states, that do not comply with the new standards. The law went into effect on Sunday, although state officials were still working on a final set of regulations.(No paywall)
Highly pathogenic avian influenza was identified in three more states — Missouri, Maryland and South Dakota — said the Agriculture Department. Since the first case was confirmed on Feb. 8 on a turkey farm in southern Indiana, HPAI has been found in 21 domestic flocks in 12 states.
On Wednesday, two days after state legislators rewrote a voter-approved animal welfare law, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker signed the bill into law, averting a possible shortage of eggs and pork. The new law revamps housing standards for egg-laying hens and delays until Aug. 15 a prohibition on the sale of pork products from farms that do not give pigs enough room to lie down, stand up, fully extend their legs or turn around freely.
The lethal poultry disease highly pathogenic avian influenza has been identified in a backyard flock in Iowa, the No. 1 egg-producing state, said the Agriculture Department on Wednesday. It was the first case of “high path” bird flu west of the Mississippi River and the 17th found in domestic flocks this year.