Sharp drop in avian flu outbreaks in France
Poultry farmers in South-West France may resume production in their units after the country reported a drop in bird flu outbreaks recently. The number of new outbreaks of the virus in France dropped to five in the first week of March, compared with almost 130 in the first week of January, while in the most affected region of the Landes no new cases were recorded in the last month, the Ministry of Agriculture said in a statement.
France is among the European countries that have seen the H5N8 avian flu virus spread this winter from wild birds to domestic birds. The authorities massively slaughtered flocks to contain the disease, with France slaughtering about 3 million birds, mostly ducks. "This means that the drastic measures put in place to limit the spread of the virus have brought results," said the document.
Farms in southwestern areas that were previously subjected to mass slaughter will be able to resume breeding certain types of birds, including chickens, although herds are confined indoors. However, the ban on raising ducks and geese in these areas would continue until the H5N8 epidemic was completely ended, given the particular vulnerability of these animals to the virus, the ministry added.
The risk of bird flu remained high in France and Europe, the ministry said, looking at two cases this week in northeastern France and 39 cases among wild birds in Europe last weekend.
Following the example of France, the United Kingdom defined that from April 1st, the guidelines that forced British poultry farming to keep all their birds under confinement, without any access to the open air, will be suspended. Such measures have been in force since December 14, 2020.
Great Britain is working hard to avoid a mass culling in pig farms, where almost 120,000 pigs are...