‘A lot of poultry farm directors think unnecessary to follow poultry maintenance rules’

The damage of bird flu outbreaks in Tatarstan has been over 230 million rubles

The bird flu was detected in five districts’ households in Tatarstan, nowadays only Zalesny agrofarm is in quarantine. Moreover, some try to bring infected meat and meat products to the republic from other districts, what’s more, sometimes with accompanying documents and results of laboratory tests. After an outbreak of the bird flu, Tatarstan’s Prosecutor’s Office granted permission to check all poultry households of the republic, which will last till February 2021. Read in Realnoe Vremya’s report, who caused the spread of the infection, why vaccination is ineffective, what’s done with infected products.

Infected by wild ducks

The situation with the bird flu in Russia aggravated this July. 80 outbreaks in 12 regions have been reported in the country in general. The virus got to the wild fauna, which facilitated the wide spread of the infection, said head of the Main Veterinary Office of the Tatarstan Cabinet of Ministers Almaz Khisamutdinov at a meeting of the Tatarstan State Council’s Committee for Environment, Use of Natural Resources, Agro-Industrial and Food Policy on 14 December.

5 cases of infection have been registered in Tatarstan since the beginning of the year — in Buinsk, Mulsyumovo, Drozhzhany and Zelenodolsk Districts. The biggest outbreak is in Zalesny agrofarm in Zelenodolsk District, which processes turkey meat.

According to the main veterinarian, all the outbreaks were localised in time, further spread of the infection was prevented. At this moment, restrictive measures are cancelled in 4 districts, only one facility is in quarantine, Zalesny agrofarm. But the quarantine will be lifted there in 21 days.

Investigation showed that the infection in Buinsk District happened after a farmer bought ducks from an entrepreneur from Chuvashia without accompanying veterinary documents. In other cases, the bird was kept outdoors and had access to natural water bodies where its wild waterfowl lived from which she caught the infection. As the functionary explained, they cannot prohibit maintaining the bird in Tatarstan — there is a corresponding order of the Russian Ministry of Agriculture for this.

Employees of the Russian agricultural watchdog in Tatarstan had inspected Zalesny agrofarm before the infection and they had already detected violations of veterinary and sanitary norms the owner didn’t fix. Moreover, there is an open water body on the territory of the enterprise where wild waterfowl lived. As it turned out later, they were also infected with the flu virus and had to be killed.

Household inspections to last until February

Almaz Khisamutdinov noted that when the bird flu was detected on the territory of Russia for the first time, owners of the bird were recommended to keep it indoors, while owners of poultry farms were warned about the necessity of operation on a closed territory and recommended killing the poultry bred for meat. As soon as the infection appeared in Tatarstan, the Main Veterinary Office of Tatarstan sent an appeal to the Prosecutor’s to launch urgent inspections on the scene.

There were also held meetings with entrepreneurs who resell livestock and poultry, control over granting permits to owners of animals on purchase, slaughter was tightened, transport that carries livestock and products from other regions is disinfected, control over illegal import of livestock, poultry, forage from unfavourable regions, the sanitary state of facilities where animals and birds are kept and slaughtered became stricter.

“A lot of poultry farm directors think it is unnecessary to follow poultry maintenance rules, but such a careless attitude brings to a big economic damage,” Khisamutdinov claimed.

He noted that monitoring research was done to control the situation in Tatarstan. So to avoid the bird flu, nearly 8,500 samples of poultry blood, over 53,200 samples of biomaterial of poultry and 216 samples of wild and synanthropic birds, more than 5,600 samples of poultry products have been sent to the Republican Veterinary Laboratory this year.

“There are a lot of birds in the republic, 18 million heads, this is why the problem remains. We will closely deal with this issue next year. Now all different ownership types of agricultural enterprises are checked together with the agricultural watchdog, until February. The Prosecutor’s Office granted a permit after these cases. We will separately work with every enterprise to get rid of all remarks of the watchdog,” the chief veterinarian outlined the plan of action.

Vaccination won’t save

“There is a vaccine nowadays. But its efficacy is low: a vaccinated bird tests positive if checked because the flu mutates, today there is one type, tomorrow it is different. Secondly, vaccination requires a permit of the chief state epidemiological inspector of the Russian Federation. As our poultry quickly goes for sale, in 42 days, the workload is very big,” Khisamutdinov explained.

According to him, vaccination is sensible only for livestock that is close to the hotspot because the flu spreads very fast, while immunity appears in a month. This is why the best way to prevent the epidemic is to destroy everything in the hotspot.

As it turned out, meat infected with the bird flu comes to Tatarstan from other regions. More than 6,000 samples have been taken since the beginning of the year, and some of them constantly test positive. Meat containing a highly pathogenic type of the fly is destroyed, low pathogen meat is processed.

“Nowadays we received a lot of products infected with the bird flu, low and high pathogenic meat. Every time we find it out, send the meat back, sometimes we bury it, sometimes we send it for processing. We have received 4 big batches of meat infected with low pathogenic bird flu in December alone, one batch can have several lorries. It is Sosnovka poultry farm, Chelyabinsk Oblast, Penza Oblast, Vasilyevskaya poultry farm from the Republic of Mordovia, Sabrina trading house from Moscow Oblast. These products can pose a threat because the virus can mutate in favourable conditions. Moreover, special conditions for its processing are required — it isn’t allowed for free sale,” the republic’s chief veterinarian explained.

By Eleonora Rylova

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