LLOYDMINSTER — Avian influenza is a growing concern in Saskatchewan, and in response the province’s top veterinary officer has announced that all major events involving poultry are cancelled.
According to the province’s news release issued Thursday, an Animal Health Control Area Order has been put in place in Saskatchewan to limit the co-mingling of poultry to prevent the spread.
The order prohibits movement to and participation of birds in shows, auctions and agricultural fairs, and any other events where birds would be brought together from multiple locations. It takes effect immediately and will be in place to May 14 when the situation will be revisited.
Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) has been detected or is seeing outbreaks in multiple provinces in Canada. According to the province, Saskatchewan recorded its first case in waterfowl on April 8, 2022.
Poultry producers and small flock owners are also urged to take precautions. In their news release, the province states: “Poultry producers and small flock owners are reminded to follow all necessary biosecurity protocols to protect their flocks from the disease by keeping wild birds away from poultry flocks and their food and water supply, limiting visitors and monitoring bird health. Small flock owners are encouraged to confine their birds indoors if possible, during wild bird migration."
Producers are being urged by the province to contact their veterinarian immediately if they have concerns about the health status of their flocks. If HPAI is suspected, producers should also contact their local Canadian Food Inspection Agency office.
At least one major event in the northwest area has been impacted by the order.
Lloydminster Exhibition has announced its Spring Rare and Exotic Sale, scheduled for April 23 at Lloydminster Agricultural Exhibition Association, has been cancelled due to the veterinary order issued.
Lloyd Ex adds it is “committed to the welfare of the animals that come to our grounds and will keep a close eye on the Avian Flu situation,” and plan to hold a rare and exotic sale when it is safe to do so.