For Immediate Release: January 2, 2004 NR04-01
NEW RULES FOR IMPORTING BIRDS IN EFFECT
HONOLULU – New administrative rules went into effect on December 29, 2003 that put in place permanent safeguards to prevent the introduction of the West Nile virus (WNV) and other diseases of imported poultry and birds. Temporary emergency rules have been in place since September 2002 in response to the spread of WNV in North America.
Also included in the new rules were other measures to strengthen the ability of the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) to prevent and control poultry and bird diseases, some of which have public health, economic or environmental impacts. Public hearings on the new rules were held in early December and the Hawaii Board of Agriculture approved the repeal of the current poultry and bird rules in favor of new rules at its December 16thmeeting. Governor Linda Lingle approved the new rules on December 19.
“Hawaii faces an increasing threat from the West Nile virus as the disease is spreading to the western states through the wild bird population,” said Sandra Lee Kunimoto, Chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture. “This makes it very important that the temporary rules guarding us against the disease are made permanent.”
WNV is transmitted by mosquitoes and is primarily a wild-bird disease; but other birds, horses and humans may also become infected and deaths can occur.
“These new rules will also provide further protection of the state’s poultry and birds, including native birds, from devastating avian diseases,” said State Veterinarian James Foppoli. “The recent Exotic Newcastle’s disease outbreak on the West Coast resulted in about 19,000 premises being quarantined, 2,600 premises being completely depopulated and 3.5 million poultry and birds dying or being destroyed at a cost of about $160 million.”
The following are the major changes contained in the new rules:
- Adds requirements that a valid “Poultry and Bird Import Permit” (FORM DC-50, 8/03) (aka “West Nile Virus Import Permit”) to be obtained from HDOA and attached to each shipment of poultry, birds, hatching eggs and day-old birds arriving in the state.
- Excludes hatching eggs, day-old birds, chickens, pheasants, quail, chuckers, rock doves (common pigeons) and budgerigars over four weeks of age from pre-arrival WNV isolation requirements. Published peer-reviewed research on these birds show that they do not achieve virus levels in blood high enough to allow efficient transmission of WNV to mosquitoes.
- Restricts the arrival of poultry and birds to the Honolulu International Airport, the only port where HDOA has a quarantine / holding facility and staff to isolate poultry and birds upon entry and conduct inspections.
- Specifies shipments not meeting entry requirements may be denied entry into the state.
- Replaces a pre-arrival Newcastle’s disease vaccination requirement with pre-arrival testing requirements for non-commercial chickens. The intent is to reduce the chances that Newcastle’s disease virus will be introduced into the state by non-commercial chickens. The change is being made to address the higher risk associated with the movement of non-commercial chickens as demonstrated in the recent exotic Newcastle’s disease outbreaks in California and the southwest.
The proposal to eliminate the vaccination requirement is being made since available Newcastle’s vaccines do not prevent vaccinated birds from becoming infected and transmitting the virus. Vaccinated poultry may appear clinically normal on examination and thereby enter the state without suspicion.
- Specifies certain actions that the State Veterinarian may take to prevent the spread of infectious diseases such as: denying permits for bird entry or movement; placing hold orders and quarantines on premises; and placing embargos on the movement of poultry, birds, hatching eggs, and day-old birds.
- Subchapter 5 is being added to comply with sections 142-101, 142-102 and 142-103 (pigeons) and sections 142-111 and 142-112 (aviary game birds) of the Hawaii Revised Statutes which require owners of pigeon and aviary game birds to posses ownership permits issued by the department and limit the number of birds in their possession.
For more information on Hawaii Administrative Rule, Chapter 4-28, “Poultry and Birds,” please go to the HDOA website at: /hdoa/admin-rules/subtitle-3-division-of-animal-industry/AR-28.pdf
For more information, contact:
Public Information Officer
Hawaii Department of Agriculture
Phone: (808) 973-9560