Farmers in British Columbia’s Fraser Valley are facing “significant disease pressure” due to an outbreak of bird flu on commercial farms, the agriculture minister has expressed concern.
Lana Popham says bird flu usually coincides with bird migration seasons, but recent outbreaks of the H5N1 virus on farms are consistent throughout the year.
Seven commercial poultry farms in Abbotsford and Chilliwack have been quarantined for avian influenza since November 16, and 17 million birds were culled in the same area in 2004 to prevent the spread of influenza.
Popham said the Federal Canadian Food Inspection Agency would take the lead if the farm reported an infection, but B.C.’s chief veterinarian has been proactive in helping prevent the spread of the disease.
She said the test lab operates seven days a week and can run about 300 tests a day.
The minister said inspection agencies have protocols in place to deal with infected farms, which often means “depopulation” or flocks being culled.
She says things aren’t as bad as they were in 2004, when millions of birds went extinct.
“And I hope it never happens,” Popham added.
This report by the Canadian Press was first published on November 22, 2022.