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Black Vulture Relief Act


The House Natural Resources Water, Wildlife and Fisheries Subcommittee recently held a hearing on the damage caused by black vultures (Coragypts atratus).  The population of these birds is placed at close to 200 million in the U.S. following a 50-year period of federal protection. Permits are issued to limit local populations of black vultures if they are responsible for livestock losses especially among calves.  The Black Vulture Relief Act is advocated by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and has bipartisan support in the House.


From a poultry perspective, black vultures may play a role in dissemination of HPAI.  They will naturally feed on dead migratory waterfowl and become infected.  Duration of shedding of HPAI virus by the species should be evaluated and their possible role in the epidemiology of avian influenza should be investigated. 

Black vultures were recently used as a test species before vaccinating endangered California condors with avian influenza vaccine.  According to recent reports presented at regional meetings, vultures develOOOoped protective antibody levels after two successive doses of administration of either one or two successive doses of inactivated H5 vaccine.