WASHINGTON – The US Dept. of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS) relaunched a campaign in November called “Defend the Flock.” The outreach program is focused on preventing the spread of avian influenza and other infectious poultry diseases in both commercial and backyard poultry.

“While each of the previous campaigns were successful, by combining them and emphasizing shared responsibility, USDA will improve its ability to promote biosecurity and protect avian health across the country,” said Dr. Jack Shere, USDA’s Chief Veterinary Officer and poultry veterinarian. 

APHIS also highlighted the importance of promoting biosecurity and updated two previous campaigns that were each targeted at a specific segment of the poultry population.

“Many backyard bird owners are likely familiar with our Biosecurity for Birds campaign, which was created in 2003 following a large outbreak of exotic Newcastle disease,” Dr. Alan Huddleston, the director of the APHIS Avian, Swine & Aquatic Animal Health Center wrote in a USDA blog post on Nov. 16.  “After the HPAI outbreak in 2014-2015, which affected many commercial producers, we realized there was a need to develop a campaign that provided biosecurity information to the commercial poultry industry as well, so our Defend the Flock campaign was launched in 2016.”

Full details can be found on the APHIS website.