Our Precautions For Avian Influenza

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At Pete and Gerry’s we are proud to go above and beyond USDA Organic and Certified Humane requirements.  If you don’t know about Certified Humane, its a designation administered by Humane Farm Animal Care, a non-profit, third party, to those meeting their strict animal welfare guidelines.  One of the ways we exceed those standards is by providing all of our hens with outdoor access on green grass.  In fact, Certified Humane is currently in the process of certifying all of our small family farms to their Free Range standard.

If you have been following the news recently, you may have heard about a particularly virulent strain of Avian Influenza which has infected numerous commercial turkey flocks in the Midwest.  Yesterday, this outbreak took a turn for the worse when a 5.3 million caged hen laying operation was infected and subsequently destroyed (yet another argument in favor of family-scale farming).  You can read more about this here.  The Center for Disease control considers the risk to people from these infections to be low and no human infections have been detected.  However, the disease does pose significant risk to poultry.

Because we never use antibiotics we currently practice very strict biosecurity measures to prevent diseases from infecting our flocks.  Due to this outbreak, we are taking extra precautions at all of our small family farms.  Unfortunately, one of these precautions is that we will not let our hens outdoors until the threat from Avian Influenza subsides.  Because this disease is spread through wild birds and waterfowl, we feel that keeping our hens inside is the best way to protect them.  USDA and Certified Humane both authorize these precautions due to the current situation.

Like you, we believe that the best eggs come from organic, Certified Humane small family farms where the hens spend their days outside on grass.  So, when we need to stray from that we feel it’s best to be open and transparent.  We’ll let you know as soon as the situation improves.  Thanks!

2 responses

  1. Nancy says:

    Does that mean we can assume when there aren’t any outbreaks in our domestic flocks then the virus isn’t active in the wild population? I would think the wild birds are carriers all the time. Is that incorrect?

    1. Family Farm Team says:

      Hi Nancy! With this particular strain, the wild birds are carriers, but it is not killing them. However, as the dust settles on this summer’s outbreaks, it is looking more and more like humans were the primary vector that spread the disease between factory farms.

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