Chicken cull: 5.3mn hens to be slaughtered as huge bird flu outbreak reported in Iowa

Tuesday, April 21, 2015
By Paul Martin

RT.com
April 21, 2015

More than 5 million hens will be euthanized at an Iowa egg-laying facility after the majority of them were found to be contaminated with a lethal strain of avian influenza, or bird flu. It is the worst outbreak yet to be recorded in the US.

This is the second time a bird flu epidemic has been reported in Iowa, which provides almost 20 percent of all eggs that are consumed in the United States.

The facility involved can house up to 5.3 million hens, though there are conflicting accounts about how many birds are currently at the farm. Reuters reports that 3.8 million hens are at the facility and will be culled, while the local Des Moines Register says there are 5.3 million birds to be destroyed.

Iowa is home to more than 58 million egg-laying hens, according to the US Department of Agriculture.

Officials didn’t identify the facility in question, however Reuters states it is Sunrise Farms, an affiliate of Sonstegard Foods Company.

“We went to great lengths to prevent our birds from contracting AI (avian influenza), but despite [our] best efforts we [can] now confirm many of our birds are testing positive,” Sonstegard said in a statement to the news outlet.

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