Saskatchewan’s Chief Veterinary Officer is prohibiting 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 is in effect immediately and will be in place until May 14th when the situation will be revisited.
This has become necessary as the province introduces animal health measures due to the risk of the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).
The advent of bird flu has already seen the cancellation of the Spring Rare & Exotic Sale that was scheduled for the Lloydminster Exhibition on April 23rd.
To date there have been two reported premises with Avian Influenza in Saskatchewan, according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. The detections have been in a backyard as well as a commercial poultry operation. These have been placed under quarantine. In Alberta, the CFIA has had to put 12 premises under quarantine.
The intent of this order is to temporarily reduce the likelihood of direct contact between birds from different locations during the period of time where the risk for HPAI outbreaks is imminent, according to agriculture officials, who point to the need to reduce the risk of disease transmission between flocks.
The provincial Chief Veterinary Officer has authority to make orders for the purposes of disease prevention and control under Section 2-5 of the Animal Health Act.
Officials are reminding poultry producers and small flock owners to follow all necessary biosecurity protocols to protect their flocks from the disease by keeping wild birds away from poultry flocks and their food and water supply, limiting visitors and monitoring bird health. Small flock owners are encouraged to confine their birds indoors if possible, during wild bird migration.
The provincial Farm Stress Line can be contacted 24-hours-a-day at 1-800-667-4442 and producers can get more information on the government’s website.