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Iowa Emergency Management Prepares for Euthanizing Poultry

Amy Mayer/IPR
Bird flu disposal at Sunrise Farms, Harris, Iowa

Iowa poultry producers are on the alert for a possible reoccurrence of the deadly avian flu which decimated flocks last year.  

The Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management is taking steps to more efficiently euthanize birds if the disease strikes again.    

The agency helped coordinate the statewide response last year.   That included hauling water to affected areas to create the foam to kill birds, and coordinating hazardous materials teams for cleanup. 

“We continue to coordinate with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship for a possible avian flu response,” said Bureau Chief Joyce Flinn.  

Flinn says last year funds from USDA were limited, and that slowed down euthanasia.   This year her agency has pre-staged equipment around the state for euthanizing infected animals.

“Ready access will ensure quick humane euthanasia to help deter spread of the disease,” Flinn said.  

Flynn says her agency started setting up the self-contained water tanks last fall which are used to make the euthanizing foam.   Placements were completed this spring with the help of a federal grant. 

Officials say spring migration may create conditions that could result in Iowa flocks being infected again with the virus that affected 30 million birds last year.