South Africa, we have an emergency. We should leave no stone unturned to curb the dramatic spread of avian influenza. At the moment, three provinces have confirmed outbreaks on poultry farms.

Last night, Hong Kong suspended the import of chickens and eggs from infected areas. And as we speak, thousands of chickens are being culled at a farm in Worcester in the Western Cape. This, as Gauteng confirmed another outbreak on another farm. If drastic steps aren’t taken, we will soon see the highly pathogenic bird flu spread to all provinces.

We can never forget the immense losses suffered from the outbreak in 2017. At the time, the agriculture industry was hit hard with 4.7 million birds being culled. That was equivalent to  20% of the nation’s laying hens. Biosecurity procedures need to be urgently stepped up.

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