Avian influenza is easing, but it is taking its toll on the industry as well. Since the outbreak of avian influenza across the territory of the United States, the USDA confirmed that 40 million birds in 15 states have been terminated.
Now, the virus is taking its toll on the industry with regards to personnel lay-offs.
In Renville, Minnesota, Rembrandt Enterprises announced that despite the fact that the poultry-affecting virus is easing for now, the Enterprise will have to temporarily at least lay-off 39 employees.
Last week, after testing positive for the H5N2 influenza, Rembrandt Enterprises was quarantined by the Minnesota Board of Animal Health, according to the complex’s vice-president of marketing, Jonathan Spurway.
Approximately 2 million in poultry had to be destroyed. Consequently, effective June 1st, 39 of the 56 employees of the Renville facility will be temporarily discharged.
Rembrandt Enterprises is one of the U.S. largest egg producers. The complex in Iowa pertaining to the same enterprise was also severely affected by the H5N2 avian influenza. On May 1st the Iowa facility was quarantined and 5.5 million birds were consequently killed. As a result, 231 employees had to be laid-off.
As of Thursday, Minnesota officials announced that the state hasn’t registered any cases of H5N2 influenza for six straight days, which indicates that the focus should now shift to allowing the industry to recover. Nonetheless, it is not to say that the peril is over and the outbreak is coming to an end.
“I wouldn’t go out on a limb to say that we’re done for the season, but I would say it’s been six days now since we’ve had a presumptive case and we are very optimistic that this trend will continue,”
Minnesota Board of Animal Health spokeswoman Bethany Hahn said.
At its third location, in Thompson, Iowa, Rembrandt Enterprises didn’t register avian influenza. Yet, Iowa, the lead producer of eggs in the United States reported several new cases of infection with H5N2 influenza. Overall, there have been 63 outbreaks in different locations in Iowa.
For the purpose of disposing of the chicken, duck and turkey carcasses, two landfills have been approved. At the same time Iowa is joining the efforts of Minnesota and New York, as well as others to temporarily ban state and county fairs where chicken, turkey or duck would be presented. It is a wise attempt to prevent the widespread of H5N2.
Bill Northey, Iowa’s secretary of agriculture said on Thursday that the reasoning behind this decision is meant to protect the birds that would enter the fairs as exhibitors could carry the disease from these events back into areas that have so far been out of the reach of the avian influenza.
Of course, this is just one of the efforts to prevent further outbreaks across the United States. At the same time, authorities in every state affected so far are looking into how the virus is spreading despite the biosecurity measures strictly enforced.
The USDA believes that the H5N2 could stem from the droppings of migratory birds. Also, farm workers and generally facility employees might unknowingly be transporting the virus.
Nonetheless, it is important that H5N2 is not threatening human health or the food supply.
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