Customs agents at Dulles International Airport made a grisly discovery in passenger luggage: a package of small dead birds.

A passenger on a flight from Beijing, China, to Dulles International Airport, with a final destination of Prince George's County, Maryland, had something unusual in their luggage when it was searched by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents in late January: dead birds.

The passenger claimed that the package was cat food, and indeed the packaging included pictures of both a cat and a dog. Contained inside the package, however, was an assortment of 2.5”-3.5” long, dead birds, mostly intact. Based on images, there could have been dozens of birds in the package.

The package and contents were seized and destroyed because of the biological health risk that they pose. The CBP explained the action in a press release that they released on February 10, 2020, about the event that occurred on January 27.

“The birds from China are prohibited for import due to the potential threat of highly pathogenic avian influenza. The avian products were seized on behalf of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and destroyed by incineration, with USDA approval," according to the press release.

The importation of unprocessed birds is prohibited, and they certainly should not be snuck into the country in luggage. This is especially true now, amid concerns about the virulent coronavirus and the new bird flu outbreak that is affecting chickens in China.

CBP agents inspect incoming passengers and luggage at all points of entry, including ports and airports. They intercept plants, soil, meat, animal byproducts, and pests in an effort to keep U.S. agriculture and natural resources safe.

Do you have any thoughts on the matter? Leave a comment, and let's get the conversation started!