On December 1st, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) issued a final rule making slight changes to an earlier interim final rule to protect against highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). The interim final rule prohibited or restricted importing living birds and poultry (including hatch eggs) and bird and poultry products from regions where any subtype of HPAI is considered to exist (referred to as HPAI regions).

The final rule makes two primary amendments that relax some of the interim final rule’s import restrictions along with several modest adjustments to APHIS’s import controls, although these changes are expected to have minimal direct effect on the domestic broiler industry. First, it allows zoos to import live zoological birds and poultry that have been vaccinated for avian influenza as part of an official program and under specific conditions. Second, it allows importing pigeons, doves, and other Columbiform species from HPAI regions. The final rule became effective immediately.

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