As the Victoria Bird Flu Outbreak Expands, Thousands of Hens were Killed


A fatal type of bird flu has spread to a third Victorian poultry farm, resulting in the culling of tens of thousands of hens and endangering the availability of eggs in stores. A safety alert has been issued for all bird owners, including farms and homes with backyard hens, after the detection of avian influenza strain H7N3 at a Farm Pride farm in Lethbridge, in the southwest of the state.

Approximately 80,000 chickens, or 8% of the company’s overall production capacity, will be put down to stop the virus from spreading after the positive test was verified on Monday.Darren Lurie, managing director of Farm Pride, stated that the business has been adhering to the coordinated national response against animal emergencies and has been maintaining stringent biosecurity protocols.

“Farm Pride places paramount importance on the quality of our product, food safety, staff welfare, protecting our customers, suppliers and stakeholders, and the health of our hens,” said the press release. Egg farmer and vice president of the Victorian Farmers Federation Danyel Cucinotta stated that the sector was making every effort to maintain a supply of fresh and reasonably priced eggs.

“We’re anticipating a flow-on impact to egg supplies in the coming week and are working as hard as possible to maintain availability,” said Ms Cucinotta.

“My advice is to shop around at your local grocer, market or small independent store to buy your eggs.”

According to a warning from Agriculture Victoria, people shouldn’t be concerned about supermarket eggs and poultry products because they are risk-free and safe to eat.

The most recent farm affected by the outbreak is located inside the five-kilometer exclusion zone that was established following the virus’s discovery at a neighboring property in May.

Following the discovery of avian influenza at two farms run by Avgo and Surf Coast Eggs Farms, which share workers, equipment, and administration across locations in Meredith and Terang, almost 500,000 birds were destroyed.

Graeme Cooke, Chief Veterinary Officer of Victoria, stated that the most recent discovery was “not unexpected”. He asked everyone who owned birds in the restricted region to abide by the restrictions and to report any unexpected bird deaths right away.