Responding to the controversial use of controlled marketing to respond to low-pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) outbreaks, the United Egg Producers (UEP) Board of Directors recently approved a position that while controlled marketing will seldom be feasible in the layer industry, it should still remain an option in certain cases.
USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) can tap into funds of the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) to indemnify and compensate producers who suffer highly-pathogenic avian influenza outbreaks. But CCC funds are not generally available for LPAI outbreaks, under current agency interpretations. The lack of funding for indemnities has caused APHIS to favor controlled marketing in some cases, UEP stated. However, some poultry industry groups and veterinarians are concerned that this strategy could allow circulating LPAI viruses to mutate to highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). In addition, there are interstate movement barriers in some states, along with concerns about customer acceptance of controlled marketing. At the same time, UEP stated, the practice has been used several times in the turkey industry, apparently with success.
The UEP board approved the following motion, which had been previously been debated extensively and approved by the Government Relations Committee: “UEP believes the use of controlled marketing for LPAI-positive flocks will seldom be feasible in the layer industry, due to the difficulty of isolating positive from non-infected flocks in a complex and the risk of a circulating virus mutating into a highly pathogenic strain. UEP generally favors depopulation and indemnification for LPAI outbreaks, rather than controlled marketing. UEP believes controlled marketing should be an option if funding for indemnities and compensation is not available, subject to considerations of biosecurity, geography, customer acceptance, interstate movement and other factors.”
Other industry group's views
The National Turkey Federation (NTF), according to NTF Vice President of Communications Keith Williams, also believes that controlled marketing should be an option when appropriate. The National Chicken Council (NCC) does not have a position on the matter, said NCC Senior Vice President of Communications Tom Super.