Lawmakers Call for More Action in Addressing Avian Flu Outbreak

Brian GermanPoultry

Several lawmakers are seeking action on the ongoing avian flu outbreak. The issue has been impacting poultry production for a year now. In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, eight U.S. Senators are requesting that the U.S. Department of Agriculture expedite mitigation efforts.

“It is imperative the agency quickly deploy additional resources and work with the states in improving biosecurity measures within the avian supply chain, including the disinfection of sites and the testing and quarantining of affected flocks,” the lawmakers wrote.

Avian Flu Outbreak

Senators Tammy Baldwin, John Boozman (R-AR), Tom Carper (D-DE), Bob Casey (D-PA), Chris Coons (D-DE), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Mark Warner (D-VA), and Roger Wicker (R-MS) were all signatories of the letter. The group highlighted the negative impact that the outbreak is having on egg prices. USDA information shows that the average prices consumers are paying for eggs is down 40 percent from December 2022. However, retail prices remain nearly triple what they were three years ago.

Avian flu has been found in 746 poultry flocks in 47 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Altogether, nearly 60 million birds have been affected by the ongoing outbreak as of February 1. Congress has taken action on supporting mitigation efforts through the Fiscal Year 2023 Omnibus Appropriations Act. More than $64 million was allocated for addressing avian health. USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service was also directed to coordinate with state officials in responding to the avian flu outbreak.

“We request the agency expeditiously utilize the increase in annual funding provided by Congress for activities to prevent further spread of the avian influenza and to mitigate the impact this historic wave of disease has had on our states’ farmers and consumers,” the letter states.

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West