The world’s largest egg producing facility, Rembrandt Enterprises will put down 2 million birds that were infected with the bird flu virus. Two of the company’s facilities at Rembrandt, Iowa and Renville, Minnesota have been affected till now. A bird flu outbreak has not been reported at a third plant in Thompson, Iowa.
Till now, 35 million birds have been affected in 15 states, with Iowa and Minnesota being hit the hardest. Other than Rembrandt’s facilities, 52 cases of the outbreak have been reported in Iowa and 88 farms in Minnesota. In Minnesota, nearly 5.8 million chickens, ducks, mixed-poultry flocks and turkeys have died while in Iowa, the number is at nearly 26 million. South Dakota and Nebraska have also been affected, with a recent outbreak in Sioux City, claiming 1.7 million chickens.
Most of the Rembrandt culling is precautionary and will take place over the next four weeks. Even if one barn was infected, they are getting rid of the entire flock. Officials in Iowa are struggling with how to dispose the carcasses of the dead birds. Some landfills, scared of another possible outbreak, have turned away the birds. Tom Vilsack, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, finally stepped in on Friday and urged the landfills to comply and take in the dead birds. Clean Harbors, a Massachusetts company announced that it would help out in Iowa by putting incinerators to help dispose the carcasses. A large incinerator could possibly get rid of 12,000 to 120,000 birds an hour, depending on the size of the facility.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently said that additional staff had been deployed in 20 states to manage the bird flu outbreak. They are trying to depopulate all the infected population. Officials have also continued to stress that the disease has not affected the human population and the food chain is still safe. Workers in infected states are also being monitored.
By Anugya Chitransh
The Des Moines Register: Iowa searching for help with millions of dead chickens
Star Tribune: Renville chicken farm suffers Minnesota’s worst bird-flu toll
Photo Courtesy of Martin Cathrae’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License