PUC Urges Utilities and Drivers to Heighten Biosecurity Practices Around Poultry Farms
According to agriculture officials, HPAI has not yet been detected in Pennsylvania, but outbreaks have been moving closer and there is a great concern that it may appear in our state this year. Equipment and people that travel from farm to farm may inadvertently spread the virus.
“While we have not been impacted by HPAI yet, we realize that when birds begin migrating this fall that our chances of the virus entering the state increase,” said state Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “We have to continue to safeguard our state’s $13 billion poultry industry and a large part of that effort means putting strong biosecurity measures in place. Keeping HPAI at bay requires the assistance of all Pennsylvanians and the hard work of each of us involved in the poultry industry.”
As part of enhanced biosecurity efforts, employees and visitors on some farms (including utility workers) may be asked to take certain actions, such as:
- Avoiding certain areas on the farms;
- Allowing tires and parts of vehicles to be sprayed with disinfectant when entering and leaving the property; and
- Wearing protective clothing, such as disposable boots or coveralls while working on the farm.
Chairman Brown noted that it is important for utilities to be able to access their lines and facilities in order to maintain reliable and safe service. She urged all parties to work cooperatively in addressing this unique biosecurity concern, while also ensuring dependable utility service.
To learn more about avian influenza preparedness efforts to date, visit the Department of Agriculture’s website at http://www.agriculture.state.pa.us and click on the “Avian Influenza” banner at the top of the page.
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