06 APR

Confinement of organic poultry due to risk of Avian Influenza

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) enforces the USDA organic regulations for organic poultry through the National Organic Program (NOP). The NOP has received questions regarding the confinement of organic poultry flocks due to recent outbreaks of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) and low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI).

Certified organic poultry operations must establish and maintain preventative livestock health care practices, which may include temporary confinement under conditions where the health, safety, or well-being of the animals could be jeopardized. Read more

06 APR

Viruses, production trends set to shape future of poultry health

The future of global poultry health could be shaped as much production trends as viruses such as avian influenza and Newcastle disease, experts say.
In a report by Poultry International, scientists said the move towards cage-free and antibiotic-free production was likely to create health issues that could be as problematic to producers as viruses unless they were properly managed.
Dr. John Glisson, vice president of research programs at the US Poultry and Egg Association, said endemic disease would always be a major challenge to poultry health, with more intense variants of viruses such as avian flu expected over the coming decades.  Read more


06 APR

FDA: Some antibiotics still OK for production purposes

New FDA guidelines that discourage using medically important antibiotics for promoting growth in food animals appear to have been well-received by both producers and most consumer activists. Change always brings misunderstandings and confusion, however – and the new guidelines are no exception.

One growing misconception is that FDA-approved performance claims such as “increased rate of weight gain” and “improved feed efficiency” will be stricken from the labels of all antimicrobials used in food animals. But that is not the case, according to Megan Bensette, health communication specialist for FDA. She confirmed to Poultry Health Today that performance claims would be removed only from antibiotics that FDA considered medically important to humans – tetracyclines, for example. She emphasized that FDA’s actions were focused solely “on medically important antimicrobial drugs – that is, drugs that are also important for treating disease in people.”  Read more

06 APR

US Supreme Court grants additional time for Missouri to appeal egg case

Missouri’s attorney general has been granted additional time to file an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court against California laws and regulations that don’t allow the sale of eggs from chickens too closely confined. The high court recently agreed to extend the filing deadline for all respondents in the case to April 24. Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley announced in February that he would appeal the case to the nation’s highest court to fight what he called California’s attempt to impose job-killing regulations on Missouri. The California laws and regulations, which Missouri and other states have been fighting for more than three years, impose onerous new regulations on Missouri poultry farmers and would drive up the costs of eggs for Missouri families, Hawley said in his announcement. Read more

06 APR

Diseases linked to poultry lead to warnings against chicks and ducklings as gifts

With Easter two weeks away, chicks and ducklings are hatching across Maryland, but the cuddly birds carry real risks for children and families who do not know how to properly handle poultry. The Maryland Department of Agriculture announced on March 23 it “strongly discourages” people from buying chicks as presents this spring, because of the risk of illness from improperly handling live poultry.

“Obviously, we can’t stop commerce, but it’s just not a good idea,” Dr. Michael Radebaugh, the state veterinarian, said in an interview Thursday. Maryland has been on heightened alert since highly pathogenic avian influenza, or bird flu, was found in Tennessee this year, Radebaugh said. Sickened flocks have been contained, eradicated and disinfected. No cases have been found since March 15. Read more

06 APR

NTF Chairman proposes Animal Disease Defense Plan

National Turkey Federation Chairman Carl Wittenburg advocated for protection of the nation’s nearly $441 billion investment in poultry and livestock requiring a forward-looking, mandatory Animal Pest and Disease Prevention Programme and Foot and Mouth Vaccine Bank designed to limit the impacts of foreign diseases on American livestock and poultry producers. Read more

06 APR

New FDA controls don’t go far enough to prevent antibiotic resistance, GAO says

A federal report released by the Government Accountability Office last week says that the FDA’s new controls on the agricultural use of antibiotics fall short of expectations, especially as far as the prevention of antibiotic resistance is concerned. The new controls, which were finally implemented in January three years after they were first announced, were intended to make it impossible for livestock producers to use routine, subtherapeutic levels of antibiotics as growth promoters, a technique that has been used since the 1940s to get animals up to slaughtering weight in shorter time frames. The new controls were made up of two documents that would “protect public health” and “help phase out the use of medically important antimicrobials in food animals for productive purposes,” according to the FDA. Read more

06 APR

Canadian chicken farmers proud to raise chicken that Canadians trust

Canada’s chicken farmers are appalled by the inaccurate and irresponsible portrayal of Canadian chicken production that is being used to target retail and foodservice companies. Mercy for Animals, a US-based activist organization, has recently been using sensationalized video footage and accusations implying that this is representative of Canadian chicken farms. Other groups have also been using questionable information to fuel their campaigns and push an agenda to eliminate animal agriculture and shutter Canadian farms. These tactics are shameful, inaccurate, deliberately misleading, and undermine the hard work and animal welfare standards of local Canadian farmers throughout the country. Read more