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Avian Dis. 2012 Dec;56(4 Suppl):1021-4.

Implementation of an information system for the traceability of live decoy birds.

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  • 1Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie, Viale dell'Universit√† 10, 35020 Legnaro, Italy.


In the Veneto region (northern Italy), some geographic areas in the Po Valley have a large concentration of industrial poultry farms and are located close to wet areas with high populations of wild waterfowl. Live decoy birds belonging to the orders of Anseriformes and Charadriiformes can constitute a "bridge" for avian influenza (AI) viruses between the wild reservoir and the rural holdings where live decoy birds are usually kept, sometimes together with poultry. Thus, the use of live decoy birds during bird hunting could increase the risk of exposure of poultry farms to AI viruses. Since 2008, this kind of hunting has been strictly regulated with regard to the detection and use of live decoy birds. In order to guarantee the application of appropriate AI risk-modulating and monitoring measures in the management of the live decoys according to the European Union (EU) provisions, a solid and well-structured information system has been created. The Regional Data Bank (RDB) of farms and livestock, which has been operating since 1997, also contains data on farms and poultry movements. Therefore, the RDB management software was updated to collect data from the hunters who keep live decoy birds, and specific functions were integrated to ensure the traceability of these birds. Each live decoy bird has been identified by an irremovable ring. The individual code of each ring is recorded in the RDB and linked to both the holder's code and the hunting area. Transfers and death/slaughtering of the registered birds are recorded, too. The activation of a computerized data collection system has proven to be a prerequisite for the implementation of a control system for live decoy birds and provides an essential tool for the management of AI emergencies.

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