The House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture held a public hearing, Thursday, to examine the federal and state response to avian influenza. AI is recognized as one of the worst animal disease outbreaks the U.S. has ever experienced, and has infected more than 220 farms in 21 states. Subcommittee chairman Representative David Rouzer of North Carolina said the impact of the avian influenza outbreak has been devastating. He went on to say “it is essential that we learn from the outbreak this past spring and put in place the proper steps to minimize the impact of a possible outbreak in the Southeast when the temperatures decrease this fall.”
Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway echoed the seriousness of the situation and said “It is absolutely vital that USDA and vulnerable states are prepared to respond quickly if this outbreak returns in the fall, as is expected.” So far, nearly 48 million chickens and turkeys have been depopulated and millions of dollars have been spent to aid in response efforts.