CBP intercepts dead birds in passenger's baggage from China at Dulles airport

Pet food package from China that contained tiny dead birds. | Photo provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection
By  | 

WASHINGTON (WHSV) — U.S. customs officials say they recently seized a package of tiny dead birds in someone's baggage at Washington Dulles International Airport.

According to a press release by Customs and Border Protection (CBP), a traveler arrived on a flight from Beijing, China, on January 27 en route to an address in Prince George's County, Maryland.

During a baggage examination, CBP says their agriculture specialists discovered a package with image of a cat and dog on the bag. The passenger told officials that it was a package of cat food.

The package contained a large quantity of small, dead birds, each about 2.5 to 3.5 inches in length.

According to CBP, birds from another nation are prohibited for import due to the potential threat of highly pathogenic avian influenza (bird flu).

The U.S. Department of Agriculture seized the birds and destroyed them by incineration, per standard procedure.

“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.”

“Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists protect our nation’s agricultural industries from a variety of potential threats every day, including from highly pathogenic animal diseases that threaten our nation’s economy,” said Casey Durst, Director of Field Operations for CBP’s Baltimore Field Office. “CBP agriculture specialists continue to exercise extraordinary vigilance in their fight to protect our nation’s agriculture and economic prosperity from invasive pests and animal diseases.”

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.

CBP agriculture specialists inspect tens of thousands of international air passengers, and air and sea cargoes, nationally being imported to the United States.

During a typical day last year, CBP agriculture specialists across the nation seized 4,695 prohibited plant, meat, and animal byproducts, and soil, and intercepted 314 insect pests at U.S. ports of entry.