The National Chicken Council and the Congressional Chicken Caucus on Monday hosted an avian influenza educational briefing on Capitol Hill for congressional staff. Presenters included Dr. TJ Myers, associate deputy administrator for veterinary services at USDA’s Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Dr. Burke Healey, executive director for veterinary science surveillance, preparedness and response services, and NCC’s Dr. Ashley Peterson, senior vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs.

Ashley Peterson, Ph.D. NCC Senior Vice President of Scientific and Regulatory Affairs

Ashley Peterson, Ph.D.
NCC Senior Vice President of Scientific and Regulatory Affairs

With almost 50 Hill staffers present, including senior staff and committee staff, the briefing gave background on avian influenza as well as an overview of the response and current situation. Doctors Meyers, Healey, and Peterson concluded with a question and answer session.

“I thought the briefing went extremely well and we and APHIS were able to answer many questions posed by the congressional staff,” said NCC President Mike Brown. “With the Senate Agriculture Committee holding a hearing about AI on July 7, this gave NCC an excellent opportunity to provide members of the House and Senate beforehand with some background information.”

NCC staff also talked with staff from the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs committee Thursday morning. In preparation for next week’s hearing, NCC staff reviewed the importance of biosecurity in dealing with avian influenza, vaccinations and trade ramifications of a vaccination plan, and the industries preparations for the fall.

Next week both the Senate Agriculture and the Homeland Security committees will hold hearings on Avian Influenza. More information about those hearings can be found here and here.