Millions of Chickens Slaughtered Due to Bird Flu

( – The Avian bird flu has struck again, this time in Ohio. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), an Ohio egg farm will slaughter 1.35 million chickens following positive tests for the virus among the flock. Earlier this month, more than 2 million chickens were killed due to outbreaks at egg farms in Minnesota and Iowa. The number of chickens killed this year is far less than last year when the outbreak was first discovered. Only 8.1 million birds have been slaughtered in 2023, with more than 70 percent of that total being killed this month.

Farms in Iowa produce more eggs than any other state in the country, which is likely why more chickens have been slaughtered there than anywhere else. More than 17.3 million birds have been killed in the state since the outbreak began. Ohio is another top egg producer in the country, but only 5.1 million birds have been killed there since 2022. Outbreaks have also occurred as far west as California and as far east as Maryland. Overall, 58 million birds have been slaughtered since the first case was confirmed last year.

Farmers have adopted new practices to try and prevent outbreaks at their farms. Keeping migratory birds from intermingling with farm birds is one of the most important steps farmers have taken to prevent their flocks from being infected with the virus. At some farms, workers are required to shower and change clothes upon arrival, use separate tools for each barn, and vehicles entering the farms are sanitized.

Humans are at very low risk of contracting the virus, but the birds from infected farms are slaughtered to prevent any from entering the food supply. However, cooking poultry to the proper temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit (73.89 degrees Celsius) would kill any viruses. Egg prices have remained much lower than they were in 2022 when the outbreak first began, but have risen slightly since September.

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