The Poultry Bulletin - - FRONT PAGE - By Colleen Hay

Bird flu em­pha­sises biose­cu­rity im­por­tance

Bio-se­cu­rity on an­i­mal farms and in food pro­cess­ing fa­cil­i­ties is an es­sen­tial step in the pre­ven­tion of trans­mit­table viruses or dis­eases from an­i­mals to an­i­mals – or even from an­i­mals to hu­mans, and from hu­mans to an­i­mals. Biose­cu­rity is a set of mea­sures cal­cu­lated to pre­vent or lessen the risk of dis­ease trans­mis­sion. The re­al­ity how­ever is that ef­fec­tive biose­cu­rity de­mands that farm­ers ac­tu­ally change the cul­ture of their enterprise so that ev­ery­one on the farm be­comes more aware of what’s hap­pen­ing around them.

A fail­ure of pro­cesses

If, in spite of your best at­tempts at biose­cu­rity, an in­fec­tious dis­ease breaks out in your flock, more than likely this points to a fail­ure of your sys­tems and pro­cesses. Fail­ure of­ten re­sults not be­cause of what you know, but rather be­cause of what you don’t know. This can range from con­di­tions on your farm and those of your neigh­bours, through to the move­ments of your em­ploy­ees, the sta­tus of main­te­nance, equip­ment shar­ing, who is vis­it­ing your fa­cil­i­ties, and what they do once they ar­rive. As you don’t have a han­dle on ev­ery­thing around you, you could miss some very im­por­tant risk fac­tors.

Keep­ing it sim­ple

Show­er­ing, wear­ing pro­tec­tive cloth­ing and wash­ing hands and footwear be­fore en­ter­ing an an­i­mal rearing area or pro­cess­ing plant are all recog­nised as vi­tally im­por­tant - and are usu­ally strictly en­forced, but an overly com­plex and un­wieldy biose­cu­rity pro­gramme can ac­tu­ally be counter-pro­duc­tive.

“If you have a set of biose­cu­rity rules and pro­ce­dures so ex­haus­tive that the doc­u­ment would do se­ri­ous dam­age if dropped on your foot, you don’t have a plan - you have a prob­lem,” said David Shapiro of Per­due Farms. “Biose­cu­rity rules are in­tended to re­duce risk, but if they are in­com­pre­hen­si­ble, over­whelm­ing, ig­nored, out­dated or es­sen­tially use­less, it’s time for an over­haul. Set pri­or­i­ties - if you are con­sid­er­ing a new rule, do not think about the rule; think about how much it re­duces the risk of dis­ease trans­mis­sion.”

Learn­ing lessons

There is no such thing as spon­ta­neous gen­er­a­tion of dis­ease. So if there’s an out­break at your fa­cil­ity, it’s a re­al­ity check, a re­minder that your biose­cu­rity failed. Out­breaks can teach some dif­fi­cult lessons, but it is these lessons - of­ten very costly - that ul­ti­mately im­prove biose­cu­rity stan­dards. This can range from the ad­di­tion of a few ex­tra mea­sures through to a com­plete re­view and over­haul of biose­cu­rity prac­tices and pro­ce­dures on the farm or pro­cess­ing plant.¡

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