The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is launching a new outreach campaign focused on preventing the spread of infectious poultry diseases in both commercial and backyard poultry.
Considering the devastating impact of the highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreak in 2014-15, as well as this year’s outbreak of virulent Newcastle disease in southern California, APHIS said the timing is right for everyone in the poultry community to work together to protect the health of the nation’s flocks.
The updated “Defend the Flock” campaign to promote biosecurity combines and updates two previous campaigns that were each targeted at a specific segment of the poultry population.
“While each of the previous campaigns were successful, by combining them and emphasizing shared responsibility, USDA will improve its ability to promote biosecurity and protect avian health across the country,” said Dr. Jack Shere, USDA chief veterinary officer and a poultry veterinarian.
“We’ve seen great strides in biosecurity since 2015, but biosecurity is an everyday, every time effort,” Shere said. “To sustain good practices takes awareness, training and reminders — which this campaign is poised to do. Let’s all work together to defend our nation’s flocks.”
USDA launched a new webpage for the campaign at www.aphis.usda.gov/animalhealth/defendtheflock, where anyone can find important information about protecting their flocks from disease. The site also has a resource section, including a series of checklists each covering specific biosecurity principles. Producers, growers, workers and enthusiasts alike can use these as regular reminders or cues for maintaining a high level of biosecurity, APHIS said. These resources will be available in both English and Spanish at the launch, with additional languages coming in the next year.
USDA will also offer a webinar explaining the new campaign and showcasing the latest resources on Nov. 28. The webinar will also be recorded for later playback. To learn more or register, click here.