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New AI outbreaks put Russian poultry industry on high alert

A series of outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (AI) have been recorded in the Urals federal district of Russia. The outbreaks centered primarily in the Tyumen region, the Russian state veterinary watchdog, Rosselhoznadzor, reported.
In total, 13 AI outbreaks have been registered in Russia since late September in 4 Urals regions, 7 of which are in the Tyumen region, Rosselhoznadzor said. Photo: Bert Jansen
In total, 13 AI outbreaks have been registered in Russia since late September in 4 Urals regions, 7 of which are in the Tyumen region, Rosselhoznadzor said. Photo: Bert Jansen

Avian influenza has hit Borovaskaya poultry farm, not far from the city of Tyumen, prompting Russian authorities to cull 4.3 million birds (both broilers and laying hens). Rosselhoznadzor also had to destroy infected finished products – 12 million eggs and 57 tonnes of chicken meat. In total, 13 AI outbreaks have been registered in Russia since late September in 4 Urals regions, 7 of which are in the Tyumen region, Rosselhoznadzor said.

Supply concerns of eggs in particular

The regional authorities admitted that the AI outbreak at the Borovaskaya poultry farm was “a tough blow” for the local poultry industry. Tyumen region’s egg production stands at 1.3 billion eggs per year, of which Borovaskaya accounted for 1 billion alone.

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As explained by Svetlana Sukhova, director of the food department in the Tyumen government, Borovaskaya primarily exported eggs to neighboring regions, selling only around 15% of its annual output in the local market. Sukhova added that the regional demand is primarily met by the Pishtinskaya poultry farm, the production capacity of which is 300 million eggs per year. Things are better in terms of broiler meat production, as the remaining farms produce 90,000 tonnes of broiler meat per year, twice the total demand in the Tyumen region.

Insufficient biosecurity on poultry farm

The Russian authorities called all poultry farms to step up biosecurity in order to avoid new AI outbreaks. During the past several years, the Borovaskaya farm was fined several times by Rosselhoznadzor for a total amount of around 2 million rubles (US$ 3 million) for several violations of veterinary safety rules.

Vladimir Yakushev, the Russian president’s ambassador in the Ural federal district, said that poultry farms must comply with Rosselhoznadzor’s recommendations and immediately react to the violations discovered during veterinary inspections. Yakushev claimed that this is the only way to avoid situations like the one that happened at the Borovaskaya farm.

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