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Ontario Taking Additional Action to Protect Flocks

TORONTO – The Ontario government is taking additional steps to limit the spread of avian influenza among birds in the province. Lisa Thompson, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, on the advice of the Chief Veterinarian for Ontario, has issued a Minister’s Order under the Animal Health Act, 2009, with the purpose of limiting the commingling of birds from different locations in order to reduce the risk of disease transmission.

Effective 12:01 a.m. April 9, 2022, the movement to and participation of birds in events where they commingle, such as shows, sales, swaps, fairs, sport and educational displays is prohibited. Temporarily reducing direct contact between birds from different locations will limit the spread of avian influenza and protect animal health, and is an important part of a strong biosecurity plan. This is in addition to Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) requirements in primary control zones. This Order will expire on May 9, 2022, but may be extended if required.

This builds on the government’s actions to limit the spread of high path avian influenza to date, including increasing surveillance and testing capacity and hosting webinars and providing education and resources for all those along the poultry supply chain. As well, the province has expanded mental health supports for poultry farmers and their families as they continue to manage this difficult situation.

Avian influenza is not a threat to food safety but impacts domesticated and wild birds, including chickens, turkeys, pheasants, quail, ducks, geese, and guinea fowl. Ontario poultry and eggs are safe to eat when, as always, proper handling and cooking takes place. People working with poultry should take additional precautions and are strongly encouraged to follow all public health guidelines and maintain strict biosecurity.

Avian influenza subtype H5N1 has been identified in Ontario, and eight other provinces, including Nova Scotia, and Alberta, as well as 24 US states. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is leading the disease response to this outbreak of avian influenza.

Source : Ontario

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