Dealing with bird flu
Under the auspices of the NAFTA Egg and Poultry Partnership (NEPP), the U.S. and Mexican poultry industries have a long history of dialogue and cooperation on issues of common concern, particularly animal health.
A virus that is endemic in migratory birds, AI sometimes spreads to commercial poultry flocks.
It can affect, and has affected, poultry production in many parts of the world.
Recently, a particularly serious form of highly pathogenic AI appeared in commercial egg laying hen flocks in a region in the state of Jalisco.
The Mexican government and Mexican poultry industry are currently fighting back against this natural disaster.
The US Poultry & Egg Export Council (USAPEEC) and Mexico's Union Nacional de Avicultores (UNA) have established a NEPP working group on AI to identify issues and projects on which the two industries can coordinate to help Mexico deal with this outbreak.
This working group is supported by various US organisations, including the American Egg Board, the National Chicken Council, the National Turkey Federation, the US Poultry and Egg Association, United Egg Producers, and the USAPEEC International Poultry Development Program, as well as the International Egg Commission and the International Poultry Council.
Fortunately, there are also internationally-recognized standards established by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) that identify strategies and protocols for controlling and eliminating the disease.
These procedures include containment, management of poultry movement, zoning and compartmentalization, humane stamping out, and vaccination when appropriate.
The OIE strategies, when fully and properly implemented, will provide an effective path for handling this crisis.
With depopulation of affected flocks as the primary focus, Mexico is incorporating the OIE strategies and the US industry stands ready to help Mexico in its efforts.
The outbreak of AI in Mexico could have occurred in any NAFTA country, indeed in any country in the world.
No industry is entirely immune to the movement of infectious animal diseases.
It is everyone's interest to work together to stamp out AI wherever and whenever it occurs.
The US industry wants to assure its Mexican colleagues that they have our staunch support.
Source: Argentine Beef Packers S.A.