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Minister Bibeau meets with stakeholders from the agricultural sector to discuss the impacts of highly pathogenic avian influenza

OTTAWA, ON - "This has been an unprecedented year for the highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 (HPAI) worldwide. Working together, we can prevent the spread of the disease and minimize the impact on poultry producers across Canada.

Today I had another meeting with stakeholders from the agricultural sector to discuss the state of affairs in commercial poultry farms and the impacts on the processing sector. They told me about the devastating effects of the disease on production, on the movement of animals, as well as on the import and export of their products and by products.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is working closely with poultry owners and producers to respond to HPAI across the country, prevent further spread and minimize impacts on industry and trade. Throughout these challenging times, producers, the CFIA staff and provincial and federal governments are working together to effectively respond to the outbreak and work towards recovery.

Where domestic birds are suspected of being infected with HPAI, the CFIA takes immediate action to control the disease. The typical response includes movement restrictions and quarantines, an investigation, the humane depopulation of impacted birds and thorough cleaning and disinfection of the infected premises. In addition, where depopulation and destruction of objects have been ordered, the CFIA compensates eligible owners.

It is important to remember that avian influenza does not pose any food safety risk. Canadian poultry products are safe to eat and continuing to buy them is the best way to support poultry producers and processors during this difficult time when they are under great pressure.

This outbreak serves as a reminder to poultry producers to maintain strict biosecurity measures at all times to prevent the introduction and spread of diseases. This extends to small producers who may only have a few backyard birds. They too should be changing their shoes when entering coops and keeping their birds indoors as much as possible. An outbreak in a small flock may result in control zones being established that will affect the entire poultry industry. In addition, small producers located in control zones must also have a permit to give away or sell their products. It is very important to know the signs of HPAI, and any suspected case should immediately be reported to the CFIA.

I know this is a particularly stressful time for Canada's poultry producers. Detecting and responding to an outbreak can be emotionally exhausting. I remind everyone to call for help when they are experiencing a difficult mental health situation. Organizations such as "Do More Ag" and "Au cœur des familles agricoles" are familiar with the realities of farmers, women and men, and can offer assistance. Farm Credit Canada's "Rooted in Strength" initiative lists several resources.

I want to thank Canada's poultry producers for their perseverance and cooperation during this outbreak. Their vigilance is instrumental in supporting Canada's response to HPAI. We will continue to work closely with industry stakeholders and farmers to minimize the impacts and support them with recovery measures."

Source : Cision

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