US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) discovered a package of dead birds in the luggage of a passenger traveling on a flight from China to Washington, D.C.
CBP said in a statement that the package was decorated with pictures of a cat and dog, and that the passenger said it was cat food. Birds from China are prohibited due to the potential threat of highly pathogenic avian influenza, and with USDA approval, the birds were seized January 27 when the passenger arrived in the U.S. and incinerated.
.@CBP agriculture specialists at Dulles airport continue to protect our nation’s vital agricultural resources and our economy by intercepting potential animal threats, like those posed by these tiny dead birds from China packaged as “pet food.” Read https://t.co/uJj5o5xfmN pic.twitter.com/xTldZ6G6jM
— CBP Mid-Atlantic (@CBPMidAtlantic) February 10, 2020
“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,” said Casey Durst, Director of Field Operations for CBP’s Baltimore Field Office. “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.”
The passenger was destined for an address in Prince George’s County, Maryland, authorities determined. (Related: Customs And Border Protection Denies Viral News That It’s Been Ordered To Detain Iranians)
During a typical day last year, CBP agriculture specialists across the nation seized 4,695 prohibited plant, meat, animal byproduct, and soil, and intercepted 314 insect pests at U.S. ports of entry.