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Farms Affected By The Avian Flu May Be Compensated

54 farms are under quarantine in the two zones.

OXFORD COUNTY - It is too early to tell what the financial impact will be on farmers affected by the avian bird flu. So far 75,000 birds have been humanely destroyed in an effort to prevent the spread of the deadly disease. Under the Animal Health Act program farmers that lost birds as a result of containment protocol may be compensated for their lost flock. Oxford County Ernie Hardeman said this will only happen once the quarantine order on the farms is lifted, "when we have it contained the federal government, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency have a program that pays for the birds that had to be destroyed for the containment." However according to Director of Turkey Farmers of Ontario Ingrid DeVisser farmers will still be on the hook for other costs, "the two infected farms...will definitely incur costs on cleaning and disinfecting and those sorts of things, the individual poultry farms will have to talk about how they will deal with those costs."

At the moment Hardeman said the number one objective is getting the avian flu under control and making people aware that the flu does not pose a threat to human health, "the fowl is very safe to eat and there is no risk if it is properly prepared we want to make sure that people understand that, that is the case because reducing the consumption of course will hurt the industry as much as losing the birds."

Hardeman adds that its simple process to figure out if you are in one of the quarantine zones, "if you're a producer and you haven't been contacted that you are in the quarantine circle then you are not under quarantine."

It was almost three weeks ago that the first avian flu outbreak occurred in Oxford County at a turkey farm just outside of Woodstock. Since then two quarantine zones have been established said DeVisser,"in the first zone I believe there are 29 and in the second zone there are 25 - those are poultry farms."

"A week ago there was a second unconnected outbreak in Oxford County in a flock of broiler breeders those birds have also been humanely depopulated and there's also a zone established around that farm so the same conditions apply there," said DeVisser.

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