Farmers in Metro Vancouver have been devastated by bird flu spreading through their flocks.
Mike Vose, a turkey farmer and Surrey City Council member, said his son first noticed a spike in mortality on Nov. 15.
The next morning, it was discovered that the bird had tested positive for avian influenza, more commonly known as bird flu.
“From there, a whole new world of hurt was unleashed,” Bose told Global News, adding that about 17,400 birds were lost.
“As farmers, we’ve been raising turkeys for 60 years. We’ve never had a major outbreak. Everything we’ve ever dealt with has been our own. It was something that could be quickly resolved.”
However, avian influenza is highly pathogenic and must be reported to the Canadian Agriculture Federation.
Bose said a team from the organization showed up on Monday and humanely euthanized the remaining birds. They then helped develop a cleanup plan, and Bose said he hopes to resume operations early next year.
“Fortunately, the birds in the barn are being compensated by the federal government, which will help us recoup some of our costs,” Bose added.
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But for Bose, it’s not about the money, it’s about the birds.
“We’ve had a tough week. We’ve had a very tough week. We love birds dearly. In fact, I’ve spent almost my entire life in a turkey barn. 10 days since. , but it was very difficult to wake up in the morning and not be able to go to the barn and have to check and care for a barn full of birds.”
More than 5 million turkeys and chickens were euthanized across the state this year, most of them from the Fraser Valley.
Bose said his farm has never been infected with the virus and has never been in a protected area.
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He hopes a vaccination program will be implemented to fight the spread of infection.
“We know that vaccination is a challenge when it comes to trade because when you vaccinate birds, you get a positive reaction to the vaccine,” Bose said.
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The poultry industry is providing input into the federal government’s vaccination strategy, according to the BC Turkey Marketing Board.
“Avian influenza vaccines are complex because there are different approaches and international trade implications to consider,” the group said in a statement.
Mr Bose said he was grateful for the support of the agricultural industry, but said it had been a very difficult week.
“We will get through this,” he said. “We have a great support network. We have a lot of family in our business. We have a lot of friends in the industry. And I can’t say enough about the CFA people. , they were very kind and very encouraging.”
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