Senators Urge USDA To Do More About Bird Flu

Washington, DC — Iowa’s Senators are urging the USDA to do more about the bird flu. Iowa Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst have sent a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack encouraging the department to ensure that resources have been properly deployed to Iowa to fight the ongoing outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI).   The disease has been detected at more than 30 poultry farms across Iowa.
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Grassley and Ernst say they have heard from Iowa poultry producers concerned about a lack of direction from the department regarding depopulation and repopulation of their flocks, as well as a possible development of a vaccine to combat the deadly virus.

At this time, roughly twenty-four million birds need to be depopulated.

Grassley says he’s heard from producers that the current pace at which depopulation is occurring may not be fast enough.  He says that there are additional questions about how long producers will need to leave their barns empty once the depopulation process is complete and sites are deemed free of this disease by testing.  Grassley says the USDA could help calm a lot of nerves if they provided answers to a few of these questions. He says that the sooner that clarity can be given on timelines for repopulating buildings, the better prepared everyone will be to make decisions about this crisis.

Senator Ernst says that it’s critical that we work as quickly as possible to stop this outbreak of the avian influenza to safeguard Iowa’s poultry and egg producers. She says she’s heard their concerns and will continue to push the USDA to take the necessary steps in the disposal, cooperation and preventive measures to combat further spread and assist our producers, rural communities and industry nationwide.

A signed copy of the letter can be found here.



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