STATES CHRONICLE – Concerns over the coming waterfowl hunting season has the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announce that Minnesota duck hunters can get the birds tested for avian flu before taking them home to benefit everyone, including a better researched study on their influence.
There have been no new cases of bird flu across the summer since its breakout in March, when it has caused devastating effects across the United States. An estimated number of 48 million chickens and tukeys had been killed due to the avian influenza, and while the situation seems to have simmered down, experts are worrying that it’s making a comeback.
Come fall, migrating birds can potentially return the problem to several states, as it has been suggested that feces from flying geese or ducks might be infecting the nation’s commercial farms of poultry. However, it has been stated that neither of those two have been found infected in Minnesota since the outbreak, but experts want a reassurance.
With waterfowl hunting season beginning this weekend, it’s in the hopes of state officials that hunters will take advantage of the voluntary testing set up in seven different counties. It will help them better detect if the avian flu can appear in ducks or geese, and hopefully offer more answers to an often asked question.
Last year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has estimated that hunters in Minnesota bagged around 571,000 last year in the fall, and they’re now waiting for a chance to test at least 800 of them brought over by hunters. They have promised that the process is quick, simple, and, no matter the results, they will be allowed to take the birds home.
According to the DNR Wildlife Research Manager, Lou Cornicelli, these simple efforts might help them in determining the prevalence of bird flu in ducks, which will be further shared with wildlife management, research facilities, farmers and other organizations in order to battle against the threat of avian influenza.
All the birds will be subjected to a quick swab, and then the hunters may take them home for cooking, as it has been found that the disease poses no threat to food consumption. As long as ducks or geese are cooked at a “safe minimum” of 165oFahrenheit, it should not cause any health issues.
The data collected could be a potentially huge advantage for the poultry industry in order to combat the fast spreading virus that once again looms over the United States this fall.
The counties that will offer voluntary testing are Kandiyohi County, Meeker County, Morrison County, Pope County, Stearns County, Swift County and Todd County.
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