Iowa farms to slaughter 1.2 million chickens due to bird flu outbreak

An Iowa egg farm has been diagnosed with the bird flu virus, the second large-scale case this week, and an additional 1.2 million chickens will be culled to prevent the spread of bird flu.

On Friday, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship announced a new case of bird flu at a farm in Taylor County, prompting the state’s governor to immediately declare a state of disaster to ensure resources could be allocated quickly.

The Iowa cases are just the latest in an outbreak last year that has led authorities to kill nearly 63 million birds. This week, a poultry farm in Minnesota slaughtered 1 million chickens. But the vast majority of cases – nearly 58 million chickens – occurred last year.

Every time a case of bird flu is discovered, the entire flock is killed to prevent the infectious virus from spreading to another farm.

Iowa is the hardest-hit state in the United States, with more than 17 million birds euthanized since the outbreak began. The state is the largest egg producer in the United States, and egg farms tend to have the largest populations of birds. In one case last year, 5 million chickens were slaughtered on a single egg farm in Iowa.

Nebraska follows with more than 6.7 million dead birds. Followed by Colorado with 6.26 million and Minnesota with 5.6 million.

Most of the recent cases this fall have been detected in Minnesota, South Dakota and Iowa, which are among the main migration routes ducks and geese follow as they fly south during the winter. The virus spreads easily through wild bird droppings that can be traced to farms, and case numbers are expected to rise since the fall migration begins.

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