The recent outbreak of avian influenza (AI) in the Astrakhan Oblast region of Russia forced the veterinary services of Belarus to ban the import of poultry from that region of the country. Earlier the same decision was made by the veterinary service of Kazakhstan.
Preliminary tests showed that corpses of several dozens of wild birds found in the vicinity of the affected Russian poultry farms contain AI of the H5N1 strain, which is potentially dangerous to humans.
This has led to a temporary decrease of poultry consumption in Astrakhan Oblast and even internal restrictions in Russia, as both the Republic of Kalmikia and Volgograd Oblast have forbidden the purchasing of poultry and poultry products from Astrakhan Oblast.
At the same time, the Minister of Agriculture of the Astrakhan Oblast Alexey Galkin criticised the decision made by Kazakhstan and Belarus to ban the import of poultry from the area, calling it unreasonable and claiming it will have a negative impact on the image of Russian poultry farming as a whole. “The image of our Astrakhan Oblast poultry farming will be damaged by such sudden decisions. It will hit not only Astrakhan but all Russian poultry producers. In Kazakhstan, such outbreaks appear every year.” He also added that the affected poultry producers already had to decrease their production costs in order to avoid huge losses.