Title: Minnesota Egg Operation Culls Nearly 1 Million Chickens as Bird Flu Outbreak Persists
In a devastating blow to Minnesota’s poultry industry, a renowned egg operation located in Wright County has culled almost 1 million chickens due to the ongoing bird flu outbreak. This marks the highest death toll at a single Minnesota poultry farm since the outbreak began last year.
The farm, housing 940,000 egg-laying chickens, detected the virus earlier this month, triggering the implementation of disease management protocols that require the culling of all infected birds to prevent further spread. Since the onset of 2022, approximately 5.5 million birds in Minnesota, predominantly turkeys, have been killed or culled in efforts to contain the virus.
The seasonal migration of wild birds, prevalent during autumn, brought forth a fresh wave of the outbreak after a relatively quiet spring with no reported cases at commercial poultry farms in Minnesota. Dr. Brian Hoefs, the state veterinarian, highlights this fall wave as a testament to the virus’s persistence in impacting poultry. He emphasizes the significance of maintaining stringent biosecurity measures to combat the outbreak effectively.
Minnesota, known as the leading turkey producer in the nation, has witnessed over 350,000 turkey deaths across five counties during the past month alone. Despite this alarming statistic, officials assure the public that Thanksgiving turkey availability or prices are unlikely to be affected.
Moreover, while bird flu does not pose a risk to food safety, it played a substantial role in last winter’s egg supply shortage, which led to record-high prices. Thankfully, authorities report no resurgence of bird flu cases in egg producers in Iowa, the state with the highest egg production. After peaking at nearly $5 per carton in January, egg prices have stabilized around $2 per dozen since then.
In light of the ongoing situation, Minnesota health officials urge the public to refrain from touching sick or deceased animals discovered in the wild. They also encourage reporting any unusual occurrences in backyard poultry flocks or commercial operations to the state’s Avian Influenza Hotline at 833-454-0156.
As the bird flu outbreak continues to impact the poultry industry, it is essential for all stakeholders to remain vigilant and prioritize biosecurity measures to prevent further escalation of the crisis.
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