Published on Oct. 25, 2021
Biosecurity for the health of our industry
To continue our series on economic sustainability in the turkey industry, let’s explore the connection between biosecurity and economic sustainability. As a reminder, economic sustainability relates to maintaining a profitable and self-sustaining industry, now and many years into the future. High biosecurity is crucial for animal welfare and food safety, but did you know it also has an important impact on the economic health of the industry?
Keeping animals healthy is important for its own sake. No one wants to see animals suffer either because of infection or from potential contamination, but on a large scale, it also comes with a significant price tag for the industry. When borders close due to animal disease outbreaks, or when animal losses lead to a lack of supply in the market, this causes instability. Market disruption can create decreased market value and food insecurity. A single outbreak for a major exporting country can lead to long-term losses for the market and its economy. What can be done to eliminate this source of instability and economic loss? To do our part, high biosecurity standards are integrated at each of our production bases. We run our day-to-day operations with biosecurity protocols that have been tested by experts and standardized across the world. In the unfortunate event of a disease outbreak, our global network allows our team to quickly respond and redirect product when needed.
Proactive not reactive
Because of our position at the start of the turkey value chain, we take biosecurity seriously. Our organization works hard to maintain high biosecurity standards and continuously improve our processes. All facilities are designed to protect the health of our birds. This includes:
- Clear biosecurity zones
- Cleaning and disinfection protocols
- Protocols for people, vehicle, and equipment movement
- Rodent, insect, and wild animal control
Not only this, but each of our farms are regularly inspected for compliance with government and industry standards, and for our own specially designed biosecurity protocols.
Maintaining security of supply
Even with the best biosecurity protocols in place, outbreaks are still a threat. However, in the event of a disease outbreak or export closure, our global network allows us to redirect product from another region to overcome the challenge. With the example of the United States’ HPAI outbreak of 2014-2015, which became the largest poultry disaster in U.S. history, we were able to leverage our production base in Europe to maintain the supply of birds for customers in the US. Similarly, several European countries experienced outbreaks of avian influenza in the winter of 2020. Our global team was able to mobilize quickly to help customers keep their operations running.
Looking to the future, we may be able to use technological breakthroughs to help reduce the impact of diseases on animals. Veterinary medical research has made a lot of progress in the development of sophisticated vaccines to help eradicate disease. Additionally, the use of gene editing is still a new area of research, but it could present opportunities in the future to protect the health of animals. We continue to keep a close eye on the development of gene editing technology as it is researched for safety and practical use in the field.
At its core, biosecurity protects the health of our birds. But as we’ve seen in recent years, and even more close to home with the Coronavirus on a human scale, biosecurity is also closely connected with economics. Staying vigilant with biosecurity practices protects our investment in the economic sustainability of the industry.