And despite all that, the virus has managed to infect flock after flock, more than 40 in all, mostly in Minnesota. Wherever the virus is detected, those flocks are killed with a suffocating foam. The carcasses usually are composted in the barns where the birds had been living. It can be months before the farms are back in operation.Man, that would be so depressing. And so disgusting.
The biggest infected flock, by far, were the 3 million egg-laying chickens identified this week in Iowa. A spokesman for the Iowa Department of Agriculture tells The Salt that the birds will be euthanized later this week. In this case, the birds may not all be composted. Some could also be buried, or sent to rendering plants.
Robert O'Connor, a veterinarian and senior vice president of Foster Farms, a large producer of chickens and turkeys on the West Coast, says no one is quite sure how the virus is evading the industry's careful biosecurity efforts. "We're all trying to answer that. There's a lot of speculation about how it might be getting into enclosed houses," he says.
John Clifford, chief veterinary officer for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, ticked off several theories. Perhaps wild ducks are getting into stored poultry feed. Or maybe strong winds are blowing dirt and debris into the houses. "We've had some strong winds in Minnesota, 20 mile-an-hour winds to 40 mile-an-hour winds," he says.
The weather soon may come to the industry's aid: Hot summer temperatures usually kill off this virus.
It probably will resurface in the fall, though. By that time, Clifford says, he wants to have a better idea how this virus is spreading — and how to stop it.
Thursday, April 23, 2015
How To Destroy Millions of Chickens
Suffocating foam, then composting. Seriously: