The poultry industry in the United States is an essential part of our agricultural economy. Federal, state, industry and producers work together to protect our poultry from infectious disease.
One of the most serious threats is avian influenza – specifically highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), which can have devastating effects if it is found here. An outbreak in 2014-2015 affected more than 200 flocks across the country, requiring the destruction of approximately 50 million birds. The direct losses from this outbreak are estimated at nearly $1.6 billion, $530 million for turkeys and $1.04 billion for laying hens. These estimates do not cover such activities as clean-up and restocking, or future lost production.
One of the best ways to prevent any infectious disease and protect our flocks is to establish and carefully follow good biosecurity practices at all times. Defend the Flock, a new campaign launched by APHIS, provides information and tools for commercial poultry producers, helping to educate and train everyone involved with poultry production on these key biosecurity practices. This campaign is not meant to replace company directives, but rather to compliment them.
Together, we can reduce the risk of Avian Influenza for all birds, while also reducing the potential financial and emotional impact of an outbreak.