After a decrease in avian flu outbreaks in July, the virus surged back in August and into the fall. As we reported in the previous issue, flocks exposed to the virus are “depopulated”—killed en masse and the carcasses disposed of. On very large commercial farms (>216,000 birds), the most common method is Ventilation Shutdown Plus Heat (VSD+), an extremely cruel method that kills birds by inducing heatstroke, a process that can take several hours.
We have urged United Egg Producers (UEP) to do more to avoid the use of VSD+. It violates UEP’s own guidelines, yet has been used extensively by commercial egg producers. AWI also invited our veterinary members to support a resolution to the American Veterinary Medical Association asking that the AVMA reclassify VSD+ as “not recommended,” which would incentivize use of more humane methods.