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Agriculture Victoria is investigating the death of poultry at an egg farm in Meredith.  Tests have identified the presence of an avian influenza, H7N3.  The property has been placed under quarantine and hundreds of thousands of birds have been put to death.

Avian influenza is a highly contagious virus that affects bird species and can spread to other species, including humans. These types of diseases are known as zoonoses. A mutated strain of the virus has even reached our most remote continent, Antarctica. According to the World Health Organisation some 60% of new, or emerging, infectious diseases reported globally are zoonotic in origin. 

This is certainly not the first time that bird flu has affected the Meredith area.  In 2020 avian influenza virus was confirmed at four farms near Lethbridge, one near Bairnsdale and one emu farm near Kerang. Three different strains of avian influenza virus were identified; 

  • three eggs farms with highly pathogenic H7N7 avian influenza
  • two turkey farms with low pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza
  • one emu farm diagnosed with low pathogenic H7N6 avian influenza.

Meredith is situated in Golden Plains shire, where the council encourages intensive, industrialised agriculture in their food production precinct including poultry, pigs, beef and a goat dairy. It is a recipe for disaster.

“Severely crowded conditions in these farms with thousands of animals and birds packed together with scarcely room to move sets an alarmingly ideal scenario for the spread of pathogenic bacteria and viruses, which could potentially lead to another pandemic” said Bronwyn Currie, Victorian Convenor of the Animal Justice Party. 

“Just last week I warned the government of the zoonotic disease risks in animal agriculture. The specific risk for Golden Plains has also been raised by our members at council meetings and to their planning department. Tens of thousands of chickens have now been killed in what was a totally preventable outbreak” said Georgie Purcell, Animal Justice Party MP.


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