Farmers in Iowa are displeased with the government's response and inaction as Avian Flu continues to wreak havoc in several states the U.S.

The farmers in Iowa have not only been battling an economic setback, thanks to bird flu, but the epidemic has posed another problem - flies hovering over dead chickens for weeks on an end, as well as the resulting smell as the bodies decompose. The disgruntled farmers are unhappy with the manner the government has reacted to the outbreak and failed to dispose the dead bodies of the birds.

On Saturday, May 23, several turkey and chicken farmers voiced their anxieties at public meetings held in northwest Iowa.

Over 25 million turkeys, chickens and ducks have died owing to the ongoing bird flu. Finding spots to dispose of the carcasses of the birds has taken time as well.

Landfills have been unwilling to take the birds as they are worried that farms nearby may be contaminated. Moreover, there are concerns pertaining to environment. Recently, two landfills in Iowa have agreed to take the bodies of the dead birds.

Farmers are reportedly waiting for the government to dispose of the dead birds, but agencies are unable to coordinate the same effectively.

Bill Northey, Iowa Agriculture Secretary, justifies that since the outbreak is a massive one and unprecedented, the government agencies are taking time to respond.

Several producers affected by the outbreak have taken it upon themselves to compost the birds as they are not willing to wait for people contracted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. However, they are not sure if the government will reimburse them for their efforts.

Per the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, the bird flu outbreak has infected 60 farms in the state.

Producers are faced with the question of when they can fill the facilities with birds again, as well as if they have it in their power to safeguard the birds against the deadly virus once its business as usual.

The state officials and U.S. Department of Agriculture have currently, earmarked quarantine areas. They have also issued stringent biosecurity measures at farms in and around Iowa, as well as other affected states in the U.S. The measures include minimal traffic at the infected zones, killing the poultry, protective gear and attire for workers, as well as disposing the litter, carcass, feed and manure properly. The infected premises, vehicles and equipment also need to be disinfected and cleaned properly to counter bird flu.

Photo: Peter Cooper | Flickr 

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