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Missourian's health in hands of chicken industry

October 17, 2005
By: Dustin Blanchard
State Capital Bureau

Greece has confirmed the spread of bird flu into the European Union. Meanwhile, Missouri relies on corporate chicken farmers to police themselves.

Dustin Blanchard has more from the state Capitol.

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The Missouri Agriculture Department says it is leaving avian flu testing up to the poultry industry.

Other states like Illinois test their birds.

John Bryan represents the Poultry Federation in Missouri.

He says Missouri farmers are testing their birds -- and will report avian flu cases to the state.

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Contents: "I think they have to. I think the department of agriculture and the companies . . they've got an agreement where they do that."

Bryan says he doesn't know of any other motivation to report the cases.

But the Agriculture Department says it trusts poultry companies to do the right thing.

From the state Capitol, I'm Dustin Blanchard

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Missouri is leaving public health up to an industry whose job is to sell chickens.

Dustin Blanchard has more from the state Capitol.

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The Agriculture Department says it is letting poultry farmers police themselves for the avian flu.

Dr. Shane Brookshire is the State Veterinarian.

He says he trusts companies will notify the state if they find sick birds.

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Contents: "If the disease is being covered up or something that would cause a conflict, it would be discovered. And it would have horrendous trade implications on the industry. So it's in their best interest to insure the safety and health of the birds they're raising."

The Missouri Poultry federation says chicken farmers are testing their birds -- and will honor their agreements to notify the state if they find Avian Flu.

From the state Capitol, I'm Dustin Blanchard.