We’re lucky enough in Pennsylvania to have not had to deal with rampant spread of the high path avian influenza, otherwise known as bird flu. However, just because the disease hasn’t spread so far, doesn’t mean it couldn’t in the future. In order to prevent any potential outbreaks before they occur, the state’s Department of Agriculture is calling on hunters to follow a few safety procedures. The following are some of the tips they’ve outlined that hunters can use to avoid spreading bird flu.
Any time a hunter is handling a harvested bird, they recommend dressing it in the field whenever possible. This isn’t always realistic, but it can go a long way towards preventing any outbreak. Of course, if a bird must be dressed at home, it should be done in an area that won’t be accessed by any other birds.
When it comes to handling the bird itself, hunters should always be wearing gloves, no matter what. Even with wearing gloves, hands should be washed and cleaned after the job is done. In addition, all tools used during the dressing process should also be cleaned and disinfected.
There are a few safety steps that can be taken while cooking the bird as well. For example, the internal temperature of the meat should reach at least 165 degrees. Anything less may not be enough to kill any potential virus. Internal organs, feathers, and other unused parts should be placed in at least two sturdy trash bags and disposed of in a landfill.
By following these simple tips, hunters can do their part to continue preventing the spread of bird flu throughout Pennsylvania and beyond!