Fighting Avian Influenza

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) continues to pose a threat to poultry flocks across Europe. According to the World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH), 196 new outbreaks were reported in poultry in Europe from 2 December 2022 – 5 January 2023, and a further 102 outbreaks in other birds.

The number of outbreaks in Europe is much higher than other parts of the world and is expected to increase in February, which is typically the peak month. In addition, HPAI did not disappear during summer 2022 which is a signal it has become endemic in the wild bird population in Europe.

“EFPRA members are an essential part of managing the risk from HPAI through the safe disposal of culled birds and day-to-day biosecurity when managing by-products from healthy birds,” says EFPRA Technical Director Dr Martin Alm. “This work is why renderers are so important to the sustainable functioning of the livestock sector. We help ensure livestock diseases do not get out of control.”

He points out that poultry producers need to be confident that HPAI is under control so they can invest in their flocks and businesses. Efforts to improve sustainability and welfare in livestock production depend on effective disease control. EFPRA has published two case studies from Italy and the United Kingdom looking at how renderers have responded to HPAI outbreaks. This is part of EFPRA’s work to highlight the contribution of rendering to sustainability in livestock production.

The Italian case study focuses on how, despite the challenges of managing HPAI, renderers ensured that by-products could safely be used for fertilisers and as a source of energy. The example from the UK, focuses on staff safety and learning as well as improving overall operations at the rendering site. 

“Systems and procedures have evolved with experience over the years in dealing with AI outbreaks. It has led to a refined approach to risk assessment for rendering workers based on their occupational role.”

Read the EFPRA Sustainability Charter for more information about EFPRA’s commitment to sustainability. The latest information on Avian Influenza is available at WOAHThe EU and the UK.