Ukraines main broiler producing region hit by AI outbreak

21-01-2020 | | |
Photo: Hans Prinsen
Photo: Hans Prinsen

Ukraine veterinary watchdog Gosprodpotrebsluyzba has revealed an avian influenza (AI) outbreak at the territory of Vinnitsa Oblast in western part of the country, Gosprodpotrebsluyzba said in a statement on its website January 20. This is the first AI outbreak in Ukraine in more than three years.

The outbreak was registered at a poultry farm of Miasnyi Hutir – a major local meat producer. The farm contained around 98,000 birds. AI killed 4,856 heads, the rest were culled in according to the veterinary instructions in order to prevent the further spread of the epidemic, Gosprodpotrebsluyzba said.

The preliminary researches confirmed that this was a Н5 type of the virus, Gosprodpotrebsluyzba said, adding the situation is under control. Ukraine became the ninth country in Europe affected with a wave of AI outbreaks in 2020. Tens of thousands of birds have already been culled in Romania, Belarus, Hungary and Poland in January alone. Some cases have also been confirmed in Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

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The outbreak may have some impact on the regional poultry market, as Nikolay Sonko, director of the animal welfare department of the Gosprodpotrebsluyzba called citizens to abandon buying any poultry “in places of spontaneous trade”. Basically, all infected birds at the Miasnui Hutir’s farm is being seized and will be destroyed soon, so citizens have nothing to fear, and yet for the time being it would be better to buy poultry products in food stores and supermarkets, Sonko said.

The places of spontaneous trade or the so-called pop-up markets are believed to be rather widespread in rural areas of Ukraine. It is primarily backyard farmers who sell their products through these markets.

Dangerous proximity

The recent AI outbreak has been registered only 40 km away from MHP’s Vinnitsa poultry farm – the biggest broiler meat production facility in Ukraine. The farm houses nearly 17 million broilers, exporting its products all over the world.

Shortly following the incident MHP issued a statement that the company was doing everything necessary to prevent the AI outbreak occurrence at the Vinnitsa poultry farm. The State Emergency Anti-epizootic Commission should approve a plan aimed to tackle the further spread of the disease and basing on that plan MHP would design its own programme of actions.

Gosprodpotrebsluyzba is constantly monitoring situation at the Vinnitsa poultry farm as well as MHP’s production facilities in terms of the presence of AI, MHP said.

MHP has one of the most advanced quality control and biosecurity systems, involving over two thousand different parameters of daily control of the entire production chain and final products, MHP said in the statement. There is no risk of an AI outbreak at the MHP’s production assets, the company concluded.

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Vladislav Vorotnikov Eastern European correspondent