Weekly equine and livestock news: November 28, 2022

Avian flu has killed more than 50.5 million U.S. birds this year, surpassing previous record

Avian flu has led to the deaths of 50.54 million birds in the United States this year, making it the country’s deadliest outbreak in history, USDA data shows. The deaths of chickens, turkeys and other birds make it the worst U.S. animal health disaster to date, surpassing the previous record of 50.5 million birds that died in the 2015 avian flu outbreak, Reuters reports. Losses of poultry flocks led to spikes in prices for eggs and turkey meat before Thanksgiving. The U.S. outbreak has affected 46 states, according to USDA. Europe and Britain are also seeing their worst bird flu outbreaks.

Chicken price drop brings relief to restaurants

Prices for chicken breasts in the United States have dropped about 70% since the first week of June, according to new market research, bringing relief to restaurants where chicken is key. Boneless, skinless breast-meat prices reached more than $3.50 a pound earlier this year, tripling since the start of 2021, according to data from market research firm Urner Barry. Labor shortages in meat plants combined with constrained supplies and high consumer demand to create the spike. This led major suppliers like Tyson to try to boost their output, an effort they say has been successful. The Wall Street Journal reports.

USDA to fund ‘antimicrobial resistance dashboards’

USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service announced it will make up to $3 million available in cooperative agreement funding to create “antimicrobial resistance dashboards,” Pork Business reports. The tools, developed through public-private partnerships, will be used to improve access to information on antimicrobial resistance in domesticated animals, USDA said. “The dashboard tools developed through these cooperative agreements will help us better understand antimicrobial resistance in livestock, poultry and companion animals, which ultimately helps protect public health,” said APHIS administrator Kevin Shea.

Appeals court strikes down federal horseracing rules act

Congress unconstitutionally gave too much power to a nonprofit authority it created in 2020 to develop and enforce horseracing rules, a federal appeals court decided. The authority created by the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, or HISA, was meant to bring uniform policies and enforcement to horseracing amid doping scandals and racetrack horse deaths. But the 5th Circuit, based in New Orleans, ruled in favor of opponents of the act in lawsuits brought by horseracing associations and state officials in Texas, Louisiana and West Virginia, The Associated Press reports.