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Stamping out strategy failed

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In order to become one step ahead of an outbreak of high pathogen diseases like the current H5N2, the veterinary authorities need to stop the outbreak immediately after the first signals occur. Strict and thorough biosecurity measures are the most fundamental feature to protect poultry flocks on farms.

Without functional culling techniques, the options to effectively and efficiently cull in average more than 925,000 chickens per farm (in Iowa, USA) are limited: either by macerating the chickens alive – or by ventilation shut-down (closing down all ventilation, placing heaters inside the house, and heat the entire house to a temperature higher than 600 C).

Although both methods cause death of the birds, it has not been proven to be effective nor efficient. The primary goal to slowdown outbreaks and bring it to a complete stop but macerating live birds and killing them by heat stress and lack of oxygen would be against all International Animal Welfare standards.

Animal welfare specialists in disease control strongly oppose against the introduction of these most cruel methods of killing poultry and argue that the ban on these methods should be maintained and alternative methods need to be considered.

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Stamping out strategy failed

  1. 1. Stamping  Out  strategy  failed   In  order  to  become  one  step  ahead  of  an  outbreak  of  high  pathogen  diseases  like  the   current  H5N2,  the  veterinary  authorities  need  to  stop  the  outbreak  immediately   after  the  first  signals  occur.  Strict  and  thorough  biosecurity  measures  are  the  most   fundamental  feature  to  protect  poultry  flocks  on  farms.   A  possible  outbreak  must  be  recognized  in  the  earliest  possible  stage,  by  actively   monitoring  the  poultry  as  well  as  monitoring  wild  bird  populations  in  the  area   surrounding  the  farm,  by  imposing  strict  rules,  like  the  ban  on  the  sale  of  live   poultry  and  temporarily  banning  movement  of  poultry  until  strict  bio  security   measures  on  all  farms  are  in  place.  These  measures  should  last  until  the  emergency   response  plans  are  effectuated.   Past  outbreaks  were  managed  on  the  basis  of  application  of  a  strategy  of  stamping   out:  eradicating  all  flocks  in  and  around  infected  farms  in  order  to  stop  the  spread  of   highly  pathogenic  avian  influenza  virus.  This  strategy  mainly  depends  on  the  control   of  the  movement  of  contaminated  people,  vehicles,  equipment  and  products.  Strict   and  thorough  biosecurity  is  the  most  fundamental  feature  of  successful  eradication   programs.  This  principle  will  again  be  the  key  to  an  effective  control  and  eradication   of  the  virus.   Up  to  today,  all  outbreak  response  strategies  were  therefore  based  on  the  principle   of  culling  all  animals  on  the  infected  farm  as  fast  as  possible.  This  strategy  is  known   as  Stamping  Out  the  infection  source  by  culling  the  entire  flock  in  the  shortest   possible  time.  All  the  techniques  for  culling  animals  are  based  on  that  principle  and   issues  like  operational  costs;  logistics;  human  resources;  and  animal  welfare  are   considered  as  of  a  lower  priority.   The  most  well-­‐known  large-­‐scale  culling  techniques  based  on  the  principle  of   stamping  out  infections  are  culling  techniques  based  on  using  CO2  like  stable  gassing   and  container  gassing;  using  low  expansion  fire  fighting  foam;  and  electrocution.   Describing  a  range  of  large-­‐scale  culling  methods,   Bud  Malone  and  Eric  Bensoni  (University  of  Delaware)   come  to  the  conclusion  that  there  is  no  possible   ideal  depopulation  concept  with  carbon  dioxide,   and  propose  water-­‐based  firefighting  foam  instead.   However,  applying  fire-­‐fighting  foam  with  fine   bubbles  method  causes  the  animals  to  be  killed  by   occlusion  of  the  trachea.     Although  the  fire  fighting  technique  can  be  used  to  cull  large  numbers  of  floor-­‐ reared  broilers  and  turkeys,  it  is  not  applicable  to  cull  caged  birds.  This  means  that   the  birds  have  to  be  taken  out  of  their  cages,  and  than  transported  through  the   narrow  walkways  between  the  cages  and  culled,  either  by  electrocution  or  by  CO2  in   disposal  container,  placed  outside  of  the  house.  Although  humans  are  supposed  to  
  2. 2. be  less  susceptible,  they  can  become  carrier  of  the  virus.  Only  the  highest  level  of   biosecurity  could  prevent  the  transmission  through  the  humans  and  materials  that   have  been  in  direct  contact  with  infected  animals  and  materials.  This  means  that   contact  between  responders  and  animals  need  to  be  reduced  to  the  absolute   minimum.   Large-­‐scale  response  failed  in  the  USA   Without  functional  culling  techniques,  the  options  to  effectively  and  efficiently  cull   in  average  more  than  925,000  chickens  per  farm  (in  Iowa,  USA)  are  limited:  either   by  macerating  the  chickens  alive  –  or  by  ventilation  shut-­‐down  (closing  down  all   ventilation,  placing  heaters  inside  the  house,  and  heat  the  entire  house  to  a   temperature  higher  than  600  C).    Although  both  methods  cause  death  of  the  birds,  it   has  not  been  proven  to  be  effective  nor  efficient.  The  primary  goal  to  slowdown   outbreaks  and  bring  it  to  a  complete  stop  but  macerating  live  birds  and  killing  them   by  heat  stress  and  lack  of  oxygen  would  be  against  all  International  Animal  Welfare   standards.  Animal  welfare  specialists  in  disease  control  strongly  oppose  against  the   introduction  of  these  most  cruel  methods  of  killing  poultry  and  argue  that  the  ban   on  these  methods  should  be  maintained  and  alternative  methods  need  to  be   considered.   New  Anoxia  techniques  under  developing  in  Germany   Recognizing  that  new  strategies  are  needed,  Applied  Veterinary  Technologies  AVT   Germany  developed  specialized  equipment  based  on  the  use  of  large  quantities  of   high  expansion  foam,  filled  with  >98%  nitrogen.  These  Anoxia  techniques   extensively  reduce  the  number  of  responders  needed;  guarantees  the  exclusion  of   contact;  and  the  operational  costs  are  only  a  fraction  of  the  costs  compared  with   existing  traditional  methods  like  stable  gassing  and  container  gassing.    The  first   series  of  machines  are  commercially  available  by  the  end  of  October  2015  and  the   order  book  will  be  open  by  November  2015.  For  more  information,  please  contact:   Dr.  Michiel  van  Mil   Anoxia  Europe  BV   Hoge  Eng  52a,  3882  TN  Putten,     The  Netherlands       Telephone  +31-­‐341701687   info@anoxia-­‐europe.com   www.anoxia-­‐europe.com                                                                                                                       i  http://udel.edu/~ebenson/Depopulation.htm  

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