Avian influenza: a much needed help plan for small farms

Small farms are requesting a government aid scheme to support them if they have to suspend their activities when a nearby site was declared infected with bird flu.

Lit Bolin

Liette Poulin, whose breed is located in Cookshire-Eaton in the Eastern Townships, is located in such a restricted area since a small breed is located less than 10 kilometers from his farm was infected. The Ministry of Agriculture informed me that any sale of incubated eggs or sale of chicks is considered this Although it is my main livelihood. She says the woman has sold at least 3,000 dream catchers made from her bird’s feathers last year. Since then, the mystery of the bills that must be paid to feed her flock has haunted her, while the fodder has become more expensive and her income, for their part, has shrunk to almost zero.

“It’s like asking me to go to work every morning and pay for gas, my clothes, my union dues, and my insurance, but without paying my salary,” she says. She knocked on the door of the Federal Minister of Agriculture, Marie-Claude Bebeau, and her regional counterpart Andre Lamontani to learn that their production did not meet the standards of existing programmes, which were adapted to commercial breeding.

For this reason, Ferme Erb’s co-owner, Claude Erb, who represents the small farms in the local union of the Union des producteurs agricole de Memphrémagog, is calling for an aid scheme to help small farms that find themselves despite being in an area of ​​primary control, i.e. an area within a circle A radius of 10 km around the site where the disease was discovered. And breeders located in these areas have to stop their production, and everything is much more complicated, especially with the obligatory obtaining of transport and sale permits. It puts businesses at risk, especially since sales of self-service kiosks are no longer possible. [dans ces zones]. It is a very sad situation and we cannot predict how long it will last.”

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Fear of bankruptcy

Some, like Véronique Thériault, co-owner of ForThé Farm, located in the vicinity of Liette Poulin Farm, in Cookshire-Eaton in the Eastern Townships, are concerned not only about the devastating effects that increased restrictions on their activities could have but above all fear of disease reaching their flock. “It’s not like the average lady or man who has less than 300 chickens in his garden and has another job. If I had one chicken with bird flu, my whole flock of 1,000 chickens would go through it. I would go bankrupt, because most of my business income depends on this production, Says the producer, who also regrets the lack of assistance programs for small agricultural businesses like hers.

bioengineering variable

It also regrets that not everyone is making the same amount of effort, including some carriers who, she noted, adhere less seriously to some of the ground rules issued by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the Department of Agriculture, Alimentation du Québec (MAPAQ) for interchange and transport in regions Primary, such as mandatory cleaning of truck wheels or shoes, for example. “I filed a complaint with MAPAQ two weeks ago, but nothing seems to change,” she laments.

Producer Liette Poulin, for her part, laments the shortcomings in the speed of delivery of instructions to small producers located in an initial region. “I had to call myself to find out exactly what to do after I found out by chance that a nearby farm had bird flu,” the producer notes.

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