Better biosecurity enforcement technology could stop HPAI

A paradigm shift in biosecurity is needed to improve worker compliance and prevent outbreaks of avian influenza and other poultry diseases.

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Matthew Maaskant | freeimages.com
Matthew Maaskant | freeimages.com

A paradigm shift in biosecurity is needed to improve worker compliance and prevent outbreaks of avian influenza and other poultry diseases.

“Here’s the reality. We have a compliance issue because we have a human nature issue,” Dr. Jean-Pierre Vaillancourt, a professor at the UniversitĂ© de MontrĂ©al's Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, said. “If we can get away with something, we will."

Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) devastated commercial poultry flocks in 2022 despite substantial infrastructure investments on farm. At the 2022 Poultry Tech Summit, Vaillancourt said this suggests on farm compliance with the biosecurity programs in place need major improvements.

Tools to improve compliance 

The basic principles of biosecurity – reduce the number of contaminants, separate clean from dirty and communicate about the plan to control HPAI and disease outbreaks – haven't changed for hundreds, or even thousands, of years.

“Communication is an integral part – whether it’s on farm, at the company level or even at the regional level – we need to get into a sharing strategy to react quicker, to prevent better and so we can intervene correctly,” he said.

New technologies, like sensors, could make it easier for workers to remember and comply with each step of the biosecurity program on the poultry farm. Radio-frequency identification (RFID) systems can monitor boot and hand sanitization compliance when entering and exiting barns.

When implementing these tools, it’s important to think carefully about how they are used. Employee buy in, training and real-time feedback are crucial for success. Incentives for executing the correct steps in a biosecurity program definitely help, as well.

In addition, other innovations such as robots automate tasks in the poultry house. By picking up floor eggs, monitoring poultry welfare, managing litter collection and performing other simple and repetitive tasks, these technologies can replace humans.

With fewer people in the poultry house, there are fewer sources of contamination and less room for human error when it comes to biosecurity.

To learn more about HPAI cases in commercial poultry flocks in the United States and Canada, see an interactive map on WATTPoultry.com. 

Read our ongoing coverage of the global avian influenza outbreak.

Attend the 2023 Poultry Tech Summit

Join an exclusive international gathering of industry-changing innovators, researchers, entrepreneurs, technology experts, investors and leading poultry producers at the 2023 edition of Poultry Tech Summit on November 6-8 at the Hilton Atlanta Airport in Atlanta, Georgia. 

Attendees can expect the same groundbreaking innovation and insightful presentations that made the previous events well-attended with deep dialogue on new prospective solutions and next-generation technologies. Poultry Tech Summit focuses on the transition of innovative technologies into commercial applications to advance the poultry industry.

Registration for this event will open in the spring of 2023.

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