Asking For Help: Lawmakers want APHIS to do better to slow HPAI spread

A group of bipartisan lawmakers sent a letter to Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack urging APHIS to do more to slow the spread of High Pathogenic Avian Influenza.

The group was led by Senator Tammy Baldwin, the Chair of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee. They want Sec. Vilsack to quickly distribute money made available in this year’s ag appropriations bill. Baldwin says it is imperative that APHIS work with affected states to improve biosecurity measures within the poultry supply chain.

An ag professor says producers need to explore all safeguards in order to protect the flock as the problem continues.

“When we’re looking for this long run, I think nobody wants to say that it’s an endemic. At this point nobody wants to say that it’s not going to go away, but I think that we’re looking at, what if it doesn’t? What are the safe holds we need to start having? Those might be those types of investments in capacity investments in technology and investments in other mitigation factors, and I think those are the questions that are coming up on everybody’s mind. Right now, because just like we have biological lag, there’s going to be a lag in the time where we say we have to make these investments. And when they’re in place and how long those investments last, and so you know, I think that everybody is looking for information right now about this disease and about potentially how we can solve it.”

In the last few days, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service reported another case of the deadly virus. This time, it was at a commercial duck meat facility in central Pennsylvania. Since the outbreak began last year, more than 300 commercial facilities have been hit by HPAI.

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