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by BETTER FARMING STAFF
The provincial veterinarian, based in Fergus, says to his knowledge pigeons do not carry circovirus inside their intestinal systems and do not excrete it in their waste.
University of Guelph-based virologist Suzy Carman adds that birds have their own circovirus but it is "host specific" and not transmissible to pigs.
Pigeons have become a concern of poultry producers and some pork producers since the announcement this week of the failure of Waterloo-based Pigeon King International. The company sold pigeon pairs to breeders and contracted to buy offspring back; there appears to be no other buyer.
In a letter to holding barn operators and some contract holders, PKI's founder, Arlan Galbraith suggested releasing pigeons into the wild to fend for themselves as an alternative to euthanizing them.
Many pigeon barns are located in Waterloo, Perth, Oxford and Wellington Counties, also major pork producing areas. Poultry producers remain concerned that released pigeons may spread disease and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs is urging producers to euthanize birds rather than release them. BF
Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs pigeon information page