Officers with Customs and Border Protection at Washington Dulles Airport seized a package of dead birds from a passenger who flew in from China.
The package of dead birds was seized from a passenger who flew in from Beijing, China’s capital, at the end of last month.
The passenger, who was headed to an address in Prince George’s County, Maryland, told CBP agricultural specialists that the package, which was adorned with pictures of cats and dogs, was simply cat food.
It is not known how many birds were in the package, but photos obtained by the press show a large pile of dead birds, including many with their heads and bodies separated.
The birds were seized by authorities, and incinerated on behalf of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Casey Durst, the director of field operations at the CBP’s Baltimore Field Office, said that unprocessed dead birds from China “pose a potentially significant disease threat to our nation’s poultry industries and more alarmingly to our citizens as potential vectors of avian influenza”:
Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists continue to exercise extraordinary vigilance every day in their fight to protect our nation’s agricultural and economic prosperity from invasive pests and animal diseases. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists protect our nation’s agricultural industries from a variety of potential threats every day, including from highly pathogenic animal diseases that threaten our nation’s economy. CBP agriculture specialists continue to exercise extraordinary vigilance in their fight to protect our nation’s agriculture and economic prosperity from invasive pests and animal diseases.
The seizure comes at the same time that China is facing another outbreak of deadly bird flu. A “highly pathogenic” strain has hit two provinces near Hubei, with 1,840 chickens being killed by the H5N6 virus in Sichuan, and another 4,500 chickens have died of the H5N1 bug in Hunan, according to Chinese officials.
The country is also currently in the grip of the coronavirus that is currently spreading its way across the world – the death toll for the disease passed 1,000 on Tuesday.
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