REGINA — An animal health control area order limiting the co-mingling of poultry has been extended to June 14, due to the continued risk of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).
The order from Saskatchewan's Chief Veterinary Officer prohibits the movement to and participation of birds in shows, auctions and agricultural fairs, as well as any other events where birds would be brought together from multiple locations. The order, originally implemented on April 14 had been due to expire on May 14.
The animal health control area order helps to reduce direct contact between birds from different locations, thereby reducing risk of disease transmission between flocks. The primary source of HPAI spread is linked to wild birds, so the risk of disease spread will remain high throughout the rest of the spring migration season.
Since the initial confirmation of avian influenza in a Saskatchewan poultry flock in mid-April, Saskatchewan has continued to see outbreaks in commercial and backyard flocks. As a federally reportable disease, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is leading the HPAI response in Saskatchewan and other affected provinces, supported by provincial governments and the poultry industry. Information on CFIA's response is available online.
Poultry producers and small flock owners are reminded to follow all necessary biosecurity protocols to protect their flocks from the disease. Small flock owners are encouraged to confine their birds indoors, if possible, during wild bird migration. Producers should 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.
The province offers a suite of existing programs focused on business risk management for producers, with the AgriStability enrolment deadline for the 2022 program year recently extended to June 30 to help manage the impact of avian influenza as well as current market disruptions, increased expenses and production challenges facing many farm operations.