Taking Biosecurity Measures to Limit Your Legal Liability for the Spread of Avian Influenza

Author: 
Paul Goeringer, Dr. Jon Moyle, and Ashley Newhall

            The possibility of an avian influenza (AI) outbreak on the Delmarva is a scary possibility.  The recent AI outbreak in the Midwest has resulted in the infection of over 48 million birds on 223 farms.  Infected birds are euthanized to help contain the disease, resulting in large economic loss to both the grower and integrator. 

            With this in mind, poultry growers and companies often have questions about potential liability if AI breaks out on one farm (Grower A) and then on a neighboring farm (Grower B).  Could Grower A be liable to Grower B for damages caused by the disease?  Under the traditional view, Grower A would not be liable for the spread of the disease unless it was shown that Grower A was negligent.  Growers, poultry companies, and contractors practicing biosecurity measures can demonstrate he/she was not negligent and is working to prevent the spread of AI.

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