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USDA Expands “Defend the Flock Campaign” with New Resources for All Poultry Growers

Biosecurity has proven to be the most effective way to protect the nation’s poultry, property, and people.

The Defend the Flock program provides resources to ensure that all growers have the information they need to keep flocks safe from infectious diseases.
Courtesy of APHIS.

The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has expanded its Defend the Flock program to educate all poultry growers about best practices in biosecurity.

Considering the devastating impact of the highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreak in 2014-2015, as well as the recent outbreak of virulent Newcastle disease, the timing is right for everyone in the poultry community to work together to protect the health of our nation’s flocks.

The Defend the Flock campaign to promote biosecurity combines and updates two previous campaigns that were each targeted at a specific segment of the poultry population. This comprehensive public education program provides new resources to ensure that all growers have the information they need to keep flocks safe from infectious diseases.

APHIS is introducing the expanded program to combat the increasing risk of serious disease outbreaks. Biosecurity, which encompasses structural and operating practices to block diseases and the pathogens that carry them, has proven to be the most effective way to protect the nation’s poultry, property, and people.

“While each of the previous campaigns were successful, by combining them and emphasizing shared responsibility, USDA will improve its ability to promote biosecurity and protect avian health across the country,” said Dr. Jack Shere, USDA’s Chief Veterinary Officer and a poultry veterinarian himself.

Having experienced several poultry health issues over the last couple of years, the poultry community knows how important biosecurity is to protecting the nation’s flocks.

“We’ve seen great strides in biosecurity since 2015, but biosecurity is an every day, every time effort,” said Dr. Shere. “To sustain good practices takes awareness, training and reminders – which this campaign is poised to do. Let’s all work together to defend our nation’s flocks.”

According to Dr. Shere, the program taps into the sense of responsibility all poultry growers share.

“The health of our nation’s poultry is a responsibility that must be embraced by all growers – from operators of large commercial enterprises to owners of small backyard flocks. This program will rally commercial growers and backyard enthusiasts to adopt best practices in biosecurity and keep our flocks safe from infectious diseases.”

The Defend the Flock program includes checklists, videos, and other resources that reflect the knowledge, insights, and experience of USDA, veterinarians, poultry owners, growers, scientists, and other experts. All Defend the Flock materials are available at no charge 24/7 at the Defend the Flock Resource Center.

For more information on the program, visit usda.aphis.gov/animalhealth/defendtheflock.

 

Anna Birn

Anna Birn

Anna Birn is a junior studying Agricultural Science with a minor in Community Food Systems. She works as a student assistant at the Cornell Small Farms Program, supporting its communications and outreach efforts.

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