Customs officials intercept dead birds in passenger’s baggage from China.
US Customs and Border Protection agents seized a package of small dead birds from a passenger’s bag at Dulles International Airport.
The passenger, who had arrived from Beijing, China, attempted to pass off the contents as cat food.
The dead birds were packaged in a bag that had cartoon images of a dog and cat – similar to packages of pet treats.
According to reports, when asked what the contents of the bag was, the unnamed traveller insisted it was cat food and that his final destination was a residence in Prince George’s County, Maryland.
CBP officials, however, were not convinced.
The birds were seized on behalf of the US Department of Agriculture and destroyed by incineration.
It is unclear whether the passenger received a hefty fine.
The importation of birds from China into the United States is prohibited because of the risk of a potentially significant disease threat – particularly 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,” Casey Durst, Director of Field Operations for CBP’s Baltimore Field Office, told WUSA.
“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.”