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Thousands Of Birds In Washington Euthanized Over Bird Flu

Anna King
Northwest News Network
File photo. Washington state agriculture officials euthanized nearly 5,000 birds in Okanogan County.

Washington state agriculture officials have just finished up the grim task of euthanizing nearly 5,000 birds in Okanogan County.

Now veterinarians will continue to sweep the quarantine zones around those farms to find out whether bird flu viruses there have spread.

Bird flu broke out at two farms in Okanogan county. A small 4-H hobby farm near Oroville had about 100 birds. But a large game-bird operation north of Omak had thousands.

“It’s an unfortunate situation because there were several lines of birds that, as the owner put it, would not be seen in captivity again,” said Dr. Joe Baker, Washington’s top veterinarian. “That he had propagated there as a way to maintain very rare species.”

This might be one of the largest body counts in state history. Officials say the sheer number of individual animals that were euthanized because of disease -- hasn’t been seen in years.

Anna King calls Richland, Washington home and loves unearthing great stories about people in the Northwest. She reports for the Northwest News Network from a studio at Washington State University, Tri-Cities. She covers the Mid-Columbia region, from nuclear reactors to Mexican rodeos.