Avian flu in several regions: “It could become problematic”

The next few weeks will be decisive for poultry farmers threatened by avian flu, said Bruno Larue, professor in the agro-food economics department at Université Laval.

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“At the moment, there is not a huge economic impact, since the number of infected birds in Quebec is low, indicates Bruno Larue. There are other factors that affect prices more, such as the cost of food, which has increased significantly recently.

“In 2014 and 2016, there were also cases of avian flu in Quebec,” he continues. On the other hand, what is a little more frightening right now is the fact that there are more regions in America that are infected. In the United States, there have been cases in 35 states and that is more than in the past.”

The majority of cases that have affected Quebec farms occurred in April. Prevention has made a big difference, according to the professor.

“Most farmers in North America are on the alert,” says Bruno Larue. They take a lot of precautions to protect their livestock by respecting biosecurity standards and controlling access to their farm. […]. I hope to continue to see a decrease in cases in the coming weeks. Producers need to stay tuned. It is critical.”

The impact will be minimal for consumers, as long as large poultry producers are spared the virus, believes the principal concerned.

“Chicken, in North America, there is a lot of it, he recalls. The number of affected animals is still low. Even if the virus ends up affecting a few million chickens, it won’t seem too much, since there are billions of them being produced. However, it could end up having an impact if the virus spreads in large farms. It could become problematic.”

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