STERLING—U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists recently seized a package of tiny dead birds in a passenger’s baggage at Washington Dulles International Airport, according to a news release from the regional office of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
The traveler arrived on a flight from Beijing, China, on Jan. 27 and was destined to an address in Prince George’s County, Md., the release stated. 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, authorities said.
The birds from China are prohibited for import because of the potential threat of highly pathogenic avian influenza. The avian products were seized on behalf of U.S. Department of Agriculture and destroyed by incineration, with USDA approval, according to the release.
“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, in the 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.”
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regulate the importation of animals and animal products into the U.S. Consignees and importers should consult their websites to ensure they comply with licensing, certification and importation requirements, the release stated.
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, according to the news release.