Aument & Fee act to protect agriculture industry, local economy, & food supply
(HARRISBURG) – In response to the news of a confirmed case of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in Lancaster County, Sen. Ryan Aument (R-36) and Rep. Mindy Fee (R-37) announced their intent to introduce a bill to provide $2 million in additional funding for the detection, response, and prevention of avian flu.
In 2016, the legislature included additional support in the state budget to monitor and prevent the spread of the avian flu, which, at the time, was of immediate concern to the poultry industry and the agriculture community as a whole. That funding provided necessary support for research and development efforts and county cooperative extension services that many farmers utilize to learn how to prevent an outbreak and the appropriate response when an outbreak is detected.
“Pennsylvania must be in a position to act and adapt quickly in order to protect our poultry flocks, farmers, and families, and this additional funding will go a long way to limiting the impact of the avian flu on our farms and food supply,” said Aument.
“Agriculture plays a key role in Pennsylvania’s economy, and certainly in Lancaster County’s economy,” said Fee. “As our number one industry, there is a critical need to adequately prepare and address potential threats to agriculture, including outbreaks of bird flu.”
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is safe to eat poultry and eggs when they are properly handled and thoroughly cooked. The CDC mentions that the proper handling and cooking of poultry and eggs to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit kills bacteria and viruses, including HPAI viruses. This means that over-easy and sunny side up eggs should be avoided. Also, people should not consume meat or eggs from poultry that are sick.
There is no cure for avian flu, depopulation is the only solution.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA), the symptoms of Avian Influenza include:
- Unexplained sudden death.
- Swelling of head.
- Purple discoloration of comb and wattles.
- Sudden drop of feed and water consumption.
- Lethargy and depression.
HPAI is transmitted through contact with fecal matter from wild birds, infected birds, contaminated equipment, and contaminated boots and clothing.
In order to protect flocks from the disease, backyard chicken owners should:
- Keep poultry inside their coop to avoid contact with wild birds.
- Remove birdhouses and feeders used by wild birds.
- Wear dedicated footwear and clothing to work with birds.
- Wash hands before and after working with birds.
- Clean and disinfect equipment in contact with birds.
- Limit visitors to the premises.
Anyone who witnesses unexplained illness or death within their flock should contact PDA at 717-772-2852. Pennsylvanians can assist with HPAI surveillance efforts by reporting any sick or dead wild birds to the Game Commission by calling 610-926-3136 or emailing email@example.com. Any sick or dead domestic birds should be reported to PDA at 717-772-2852.
CONTACT: Stephanie Applegate