Salmonella scare could see rare chickens slaughtered

4000 rare chickens which are currently being held in quarantine at Torrens Island may be slaughtered due to a singular salmonella infection.

The chickens were part of a 10 year breeding program, and were due to be released this week to breeders across the country, however the infection which only affected one of the birds will likely see the end of the $500,000 project as reported by The Advertiser.

The federal Department of Agriculture gave to order to destroy the chicks on Friday but the group behind the breeding program, the Australian Poultry Importation Syndicate are said to be seeking a Supreme Court injection to prevent the slaughter of barely 9 week old chicks.

The Australian Poultry Importation Syndicate consists of a group of conservationists, exhibitors and bird enthusiasts who look to replenish the existing gene pool as well as introduce new birds to the country.

Meredith Parker, spokeswoman for the group said that the Department of Agriculture’s order has devastated the group.

"Late on Friday we were given a destruction order with Quarantine intending to destroy them on Tuesday which leaves us virtually no time to appeal so we will be seeking a court injunction on Monday morning. This has cost $500,000 over 10 years and is just devastating," she said.

Parker added that the disease was species-specific and was not contagious to humans and that the breeding program would have bought significant value to the industry.

"There have been no non-commercial purebreds brought to Australia since 1948 and a number of breeds are struggling from poor gene pools," Ms Parker said.

"This program was set up as a legal avenue for non-commercial breeders to import birds, and to remove the incentive to smuggle in birds which is a far greater risk to biosecurity."

The project sourced birds from across the UK and had even established a pre-export quarantine facility in the UK where the chickens were testing for diseases including salmonella. The eggs were then sent to Torrens Island where they have been held in quarantine since April.


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