OTTAWA, Ontario – New updates to the schedule of maximum amounts payable for compensating owners of birds ordered destroyed for disease control purposes are being applauded by the Chicken Farmers of Canada, Turkey Farmers of Canada, Egg Farmers of Canada and the Canadian Hatching Egg Producers. The announcement was made May 11 by Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz at a reception organized by these poultry groups.

In the event their flocks must be destroyed, the newly enhanced compensation program will help lessen the economic and social impact on poultry farmers. This initiative represents the culmination of extensive consultation between industry stakeholders and government.

Marty Brett, senior communications officer, Chicken Farmers of Canada, told “Here’s the [update] info in short form. Farmers were formerly compensated up to $8 [US$8.29] per chicken raised for egg production; the maximum amount is now $30 [US$31.08]. Compensation for turkeys raised for breeding purposes was previously capped at $90 [US$93.25] per bird, but that amount has now increased to a maximum of $250 [US$259.02] and the amended compensation maximum for broilers is now $20 [US$20.72], whereas the previous maximum was $8 [US$8.29].”

Broiler breeders went from $24 [US$24.87] to $60 [US$62.16] per bird and meat turkeys from $35 [US$36.26] to $70 [US$72.53], added Bernadette Cox, manager, corporate and public affairs, Egg Farmers of Canada. “A new category for laying hens is called ‘chicken for egg production,’” she added. “The new maximum is established at $30 [US$31.08]. Under old regulation, they would have fallen under a general chicken category at $8 [US$8.29] per bird. Keep in mind, these are maximums and compensation is provided only if the Minister orders a flock destroyed which he is entitled to do under the Health of Animals Act.”

"Canadian poultry farmers appreciate the work the government has completed in support of their interests and livelihoods," said Peter Clarke, chair of Egg Farmers of Canada. "The new compensation figures better reflect the different market values of an egg-laying hen, a breeder bird and a meat bird."

Adequate compensation is considered a critical component in both effective disease surveillance and pre-emptive cull programs; the ultimate goal is to contain a disease before it spreads and save all partners – governments, the public and industry – the cost of managing a full disease outbreak.

"Poultry farmers and processors have shared in the responsibility and cost of risk prevention through on-farm food safety programs, biosecurity initiatives and the development and implementation of the pre-emptive cull protocol in the unlikely event that there is a suspicion of avian influenza," says Turkey Farmers of Canada Chair, Mark Davies. "Compensation values that reflect the true market value of a bird are a logical next step in this process."