The US Department of Agriculture’s Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service (APHIS) proposals would include any strain of AI with high pathogenicity (ability to cause disease), and H5 and H7 subtypes with low pathogenicity.
Virus elimination plays a vital role in recovering use of a facility when it becomes infected by AI, with APHIS providing reimbursement for virus elimination activities that the owner or producer has had to undertake. However, they must ensure that they are time-efficient and cost-effective.
APHIS' suggested flat rate will be calculated by the square footage of the facility and will cover labour, equipment and supplies to clean and disinfect tools and the interior barn. Due to dry cleaning, followed by heating, often being the most cost- and time-effective method of virus elimination, APHIS is using these activities in its calculations.
Despite this, the most appropriate method of cleansing may be used and approved by State Animal Health Officials and APHIS. While APHIS’ rate assumes that certain materials will be cleaned and disinfected, it would pay separately for materials that cannot be cleaned in a safe or adequate manner, providing a fair market value for the disposed items.
Previous flat rates were calculated on a per-bird basis. However, following on from a review, APHIS believes a per-square foot basis for flat rates will make it more cost-effective and reduce the impact of taxpayers. Separate flat rates are being worked on for caged layers, breeder birds and ground birds. New rates would make payments for virus elimination activities more equitable across facilities.
APHIS is inviting the public to review and comment on the issue. It is accepting comments until 12 January 2018 at VS.STAS.Feedback@aphis.usda.gov. After the comment period ends, APHIS will review and consider all comments and issue a final document based on feedback received.