The Australian state of Victoria has had to euthanize huge numbers of poultry, among them thousands of baby chicks, in a bid to stem the spread of the bird influenza.
Choosing between bad and worse, poultry farmers in Victoria have decimated their livestock, with a whopping 400,000 turkeys, chickens, and emus (2,000 babies too) being killed out of fear they could be a great risk of transmitting the contagion.
The Victorian Farmers Federation Egg Group said that the loss would be devastating for both large and small producers “not just emotionally but financially as well.”
Australia’s Agriculture Minister David Littleproud responded with sympathy to the news, assuring that the government understands “the impact of the difficult decisions that need to be made.”
Meanwhile, at least eight countries have temporarily banned the import of Victorian poultry products as the state’s outbreak of bird flu continues.
And if you take into account the mysterious flesh-eating bacteria that is currently sweeping across the same Victoria, I gess the state will become a no man’s land in a few months:
The dramatic campaign comes after avian influenza – otherwise known as bird flu or avian flu – was first discovered at an emu farm and an egg farm in Victoria in late-July. Authorities have placed the facility in quarantine, while issuing advisories to local farmers.
Infected birds have since been found in six poultry farms across Victoria.
Agriculture Victoria said three different strains of differing severity have been detected, which meant that the outbreaks were not all connected.
Bird flu is a contagious disease that predominantly affects chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, guinea fowl, quail, pheasants, and ostriches. While there are lots of types of contagion, the virus strains are destroyed by cooking.
Some of them, however, are dangerous to humans, most notably the H5N1 strain, which can infect humans. The reported mortality rate is around 60%, the World Health Organization believes. The biggest risk to humans stems from close contact with infected birds. This means farmers mucking out and handling poultry are more likely to catch it than others.