Manitoba turkey farmers losing close to 300,000 birds due to avian flu

Manitoba turkey farmers are losing their stock due to the avian flu that’s been affecting birds nationwide.

The problem first started in the spring, but it is really taking hold this fall.

In Manitoba, 289,000 birds have been impacted and over 3 million nationwide, according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. For many producers, it’s unlike anything provincial farmers have seen before.

“Here in Manitoba, this is a new level for us,” said Helga Weddon, Manitoba Turkey Producers. “The spring – at that point there was just the one infected premise.”

There are now seventeen infected premises in the province that are in the primary control zone. The main source of the virus is migratory birds, according to Weddon.

“Our farmers are very concerned though but they’re being very vigilant and they take this seriously,”

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Farmers are currently eligible for compensation from the federal government, but they are on the hook to pay for their own cleaning and disinfecting.

However the issue is not just affecting turkeys, it seems to be a complete poultry industry issue.

Read more: Avian flu confirmed in Manitoba poultry flock

“It encompasses all of poultry currently, there’s a combination right now in Manitoba of not only Turkey but broilers and laying hens as well,” said Weddon.

The flu is causing some concern over supply chain issues and possible price increases but according to Weddon none of that it likely to be affected.

Turkey being like any other grocery or commodity product, all prices have gone up for consumers, but we’re not foreseeing that there will be a price increase due to this.” she said.

Farmers are unsure how long they will be dealing with this issue but hope it will ease off closer to the winter.

Click to play video: 'Avian flu in Canada: How concerned should you be?'

Avian flu in Canada: How concerned should you be?

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