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During this spring, American poultry producers are losing birds by the millions, due to the High Pathogenic Avian Influenza outbreaks on factory farms. USDA APHIS applied the stamping out strategy in an attempt to prevent the flu from spreading.
With stamping out as the highest priority of the response strategy, large numbers of responders are involved. With in average almost 1 million caged layers per farm in Iowa, there is hardly any room for a proper bio security training for these responders. And existing culling techniques had insufficient capacity, the authorities had to decide to apply drastic techniques like macerating live birds in order to take away the source of virus reproduction.
This strategy didn't work; on the contrary. Instead of slowing down the spreading of the virus, the outbreaks continue to reoccur and have caused death and destruction in 15 USA states, killing almost 50 million birds on mote than 220infected commercial poultry farms, all within a very small time frame.
The question is whether the priority of the response strategy should be on neutralizing the transmission routes instead of on stamping out infections after they occur. All indicators currently point out into the direction that the industry should prioritize on environmental drivers: the connection between outbreaks and wild ducks; wind-mediated transmission; pre-contact probability; on-farm bio security; transmission via rodents etc.
Once the contribution of each transmission route has been determined, a revolutionary new response strategy can be developed based on the principle of neutralizing transmission routes. Neutralizing risks means that fully new techniques need to be developed, based on culling the animals without human – to – animal contact; integrating detergent application into the culling operations; combining culling & disposal into one activity.
This new response strategy will be the main subject of the FLI Animal Welfare and Disease Control Seminar, organized at September 23, 2015 in Celle, Germany