MLA Ian Paton’s statement on B.C.’s response to rise in avian flu outbreaks

VICTORIA (November 20, 2023) – BC United Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Food, MLA Ian Paton, has released the following statement in response to the recent surge in avian flu cases on farms in British Columbia:

“Recently, we have witnessed a significant surge in avian flu cases, impacting 36 farms in British Columbia, with no sign of slowing down. This outbreak poses severe challenges for our poultry producers, who are already grappling with numerous hardships. Stress and anxiety levels in our farming communities continue to increase and the emotional toll is devastating.

“The BC United Caucus is in direct contact with poultry producers and it is vital that their concerns are urgently addressed by this government. The NDP must acknowledge the gravity of this situation and take immediate action to help prevent the further spread of the virus.

“Alarming data from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency reveals that five million birds in B.C. have died since the first case was found in April 2022. The province must ensure we have comprehensive measures to contain the outbreak and support affected farmers.

“The practice of euthanizing birds to prevent the disease’s spread has a significant impact on farmers, both emotionally and financially. We know the toll this has taken on those who have lost their flocks and commend their efforts to maintain high biosecurity standards.

“As the situation unfolds, the BC United Caucus is urging the NDP government to prioritize food security in our province. This means listening to the concerns of our poultry producers, rapidly providing them with the necessary resources and support, and implementing strategies to prevent further outbreaks.

“We recognize the importance of the agricultural sector and its contribution to our province’s future and are committed to working collaboratively to ensure results for B.C. farmers.”