Small Estrie poultry producers worried about avian flu

The arrival of avian flu in Estrie hurts several small poultry producers, who, although no cases are detected in their breeding, are obliged to submit to strict health standards.

Small Estrie poultry producers worried about avian flu

The arrival of avian flu in Estrie hurts several small poultry producers, who, although no cases are detected in their breeding, are obliged to submit to strict health standards.

This is the case of the Aviary of yesteryear in Cookshire. The small chick producer, accredited and recognized by the authorities, has been in the primary control zone delimited by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency since last April, where a case of H5N1 was detected not far from there, in Bury.

This primary zone means that no birds can enter or leave the farm. The Aviary of yesteryear therefore loses its main income.

"All year round, I raise and feed my breeders," explained Liette Poulin, the owner of the farm. “I get income from March, because that’s when they lay eggs. They then go to the incubator before selling it as chicks.”

For Ms. Poulin, it is therefore more than $ 8,000 that flies away this year.

She would like to have financial assistance, but no program exists for small farms like hers, that is, those that make less than $50,000 gross in revenue per year.

Yet the issue is important. Not only could avian flu take hold in Quebec, so these producers will need help. But also, this type of producer alone represents 50% of all producers in Estrie according to the UPA-Estrie.

Claude Erb represents these small farms within the federation, he confirms that aid is absent.

"I have contacts in the office of Ms. Bibeau and Mr. Lamontagne, but we are told that there is nothing for us, that's clear, so we have to continue to to beat."

Nonsense since Quebec and Ottawa are increasingly advocating food sovereignty.

"Sometimes it feels like fine political words," Erb said. "On the ground there is not much that happens and we are often forgotten in these stories."

The offices of the two Ministers of Agriculture, Marie-Claude Bibeau and André Lamontagne confirm that they are aware of this issue.

However, no solution has yet been found.

In the meantime, producers are invited to an information meeting on avian flu. It will take place at 6 p.m. Thursday and will be led by UPA Estrie.


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