Thousands of chickens and emus to be killed due to Bird Flu in Victoria, Australia #Chickens #Emus #BirdFlu #Victoria #Australia

Bird Flu

Tens of thousands of chickens and an untold number of emus will be euthanased as Victoria battles multiple bird flu outbreaks.

A strain of the virus was first detected at a free-range egg farm in Lethbridge, north-west of Geelong, in late July.

As of this week, infected birds – including emus, turkeys and chickens – have been found in six poultry farms.

Agriculture Victoria says three different strains of the virus have been detected, meaning that the outbreaks are not all connected.

The biggest operation hit so far is ASX-listed company, Farm Pride.

The virus was first detected at one of its farms in the Golden Plains Shire earlier this month.

This week it was found in amongst the flock at a second farm in the same region.

The company had already destroyed more than 300,000 layer hens due to its first confirmed outbreak and will now have to cull another 40,000, meaning Farm Pride will lose a third of its entire flock.

In an announcement to the ASX yesterday, the company advised that the “full financial impact is still being determined and remains material”.

Losses of $18-$23 million were expected for the 2020-21 financial year.

“It is disappointing that despite the highest biosecurity levels and efforts of the farm management and Agriculture Victoria, this [second] site has now succumbed to the virus,” the ASX statement reads.

“This further outbreak has occurred despite strict monitoring and controls that have prohibited the movement of birds, equipment and products within and out of restrictions areas and this farm.”

The second outbreak detected this week is at an emu farm near Kerang, in the state’s north.

Agriculture Victoria said the emus were sick with a less severe and infectious strain than the one afflicting several of the chicken farms in the Goldens Plains Shire.

The emu farm is home to about 8,000 birds.

Victoria’s chief veterinary officer, Graeme Cooke, said at least some of those emus would have to be euthanased.

“We have had to move to depopulate part of the farm,” he said.

“There is some sort of cull — but at this point it is limited, and it’s too early to say about future actions.”

Courtesy of abc.net.au

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