President Donald Trump still hasn’t banned travel from China, despite multiple countries having done so as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
Many American citizens are already concerned about the spread of the virus, so the news that a suitcase packed full of dead birds just arrived in Virginia from China is definitely unwelcome.
On Monday, agents from Customs and Border Protection intercepted the suitcase at Dulles International Airport in Virginia. Inside, they found a large pile of dead birds.
The New York Post reported that the birds inside the suitcase had been packaged inside of another bag, which was emblazoned with images of cartoon cats and dogs. The package was seized back on January 27 from a passenger who had just arrived in the country from Beijing.
When asked why they were traveling with the birds, the passenger said that they were “cat food” and that the intention was to take them to Maryland upon arriving in the United States.
While birds are not thought to have spread the coronavirus, they are banned from arriving in the US as they may spread avian flu. A report from the USDA said that the birds were incinerated.
Casey Durst, the director of field operations for the USDA in Baltimore, said, “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.”
A CBP press release expanded on the story, in which Durst explained:
“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.”
The press release also explained, “The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regulate the importation of animals and animal products into the United States. Consignees and importers should consult their websites to ensure they comply with licensing, certification, and importation requirements.”
The lesson? Don’t bring dead animals with you on a plane…ever.