U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) seized a package of dead birds from a passenger arriving from China at Dulles International Airport in Virginia, preventing what could have led to the spread of disease in people and domestic livestock.
“These dead birds are prohibited from importation to the United States as unprocessed birds pose a potentially significant disease threat to our nation’s poultry industries and more alarmingly to our citizens as potential vectors of avian influenza,” Casey Durst, director of field operations for CBP’s Baltimore Field Office, said in a press release.
“Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists continue to exercise extraordinary vigilance every day in their fight to protect our nation’s agricultural and economic prosperity from invasive pests and animal diseases,” Durst said.
According to the press release:
The traveler arrived on a flight from Beijing, China January 27 and was destined to an address in Prince George’s County, Maryland. During a baggage examination, CBP agriculture specialists discovered a package with pictures of a cat and dog that the passenger said was cat food. The package contained a bunch of unknown small birds, about 2.5 to 3.5 inches in length.
The birds from China are prohibited for import due to the potential threat of highly pathogenic avian influenza.
The package with the dead birds were “destroyed by incineration,” according to authorities.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regulate animal and animal importation.
Follow Penny Starr on Twitter.