U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers don’t just stamp passports – they often come across luggage items that are, well, interesting to say the least.
CBP Agriculture Specialists announced today that they recently seized a package full of tiny dead birds in a passenger’s baggage at Washington Dulles International Airport.
The traveler arrived from Beijing, China on January 27 and was headed to Prince George’s County. While the baggage was being inspected, CBP Officers discovered a package with a bunch of small, dead birds between 2.5 to 3.5 inches in length. The passenger said it was “cat food.”
The package seized by CBP Officers at Dulles International Airport last month.
Photo: U.S. Customs and Border Protection
The birds were seized, and later incinerated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as it is prohibited to import the birds from China due to the potential threat of avian influenza.
“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.”
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, according to a press release by the CBP.
The contents from the package seized by CBP. Photo: U.S. Customs and
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 CBP.
Joseph Olmo is a bilingual multimedia freelance journalist in the Washington D.C. Metro area. He is a digital storyteller and content writer for DCW50.
He can be reached @josephmolmo