France Bird Flu: Country To Slaughter More Ducks
Stephane Le Foll, the agriculture ministry of France has ordered all remaining 600,000 ducks in the southwest to be slaughtered on Tuesday, in an attempt to stop the growing outbreak of bird flu. Southwest France is the key poultry-producing region and is the biggest producer of foie grass.
During a radio interview with France Bleu, Le Foll said bird flu had spread faster than expected. As a safety measure to better secure transport of poultry and limit their mobility, all 600,000 farmed ducks in Landes are scheduled to be killed.
They have seen over 100 cases of animal contamination and have failed to stop the spread of the highly pathogenic H5N8 virus. The virus has hit ducks and other birds in more than 300 French farms for the past months.
The Local reported that many ducks in the eastern area had already been put down, but more are needed to be done to stabilize the area. The new slaughter is focused on the western part of the Landes region. Le Foll said "Authorities are facing a virus that spreads at speeds never seen before and with extremely short incubation periods."
According to The Washington Post the bird flu virus does not transmit via food and is harmless to humans.
The mass culling would take several weeks to carry out as it aims to prevent the disease from spreading. The Ministry of Agriculture said there had been 273 outbreaks of the H5N8 virus in farms across France. There were only 28 cases reported in the wild, 120 were in the Landes department and 92 in nearby Gers.
The latest massive poultry cull was in January, where hundreds of thousands of ducks were gassed in the hope of containing the virus. However, the virus has spread before it could be contained.
The virus has also spread in other European countries and has even spread as far as the Middle East.