more than 280 infected farms, mainly in the South-West

France recorded 282 outbreaks of avian influenza in its farms on Friday, the vast majority of which in the South-West, known for its production of foie gras, where more than a million animals have already been slaughtered.

In the South-West, 270 outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (commonly known as avian flu) have been confirmed to date, reports the Ministry of Agriculture on its website.

Most of the outbreaks (239) are located in the Landes, the leading department for the production of foie gras, which has around 800 palmipeds (especially ducks) production farms.

The other outbreaks are located in the Gers (14), the Pyrénées-Atlantiques (15) and the Hautes-Pyrénées (2).

Outside the South-West, 12 outbreaks – including in pet shops and lower courtyards – were recorded in five departments: Haute-Corse (6), Vendée (3), Deux-Sèvres (1), Corse-du -Sud (1) and Yvelines (1). Nine cases were also found in wildlife.

To contain this epizootic which has continued to progress since its first appearance on a farm in early December, the health authorities are engaged in a slaughter campaign targeting contaminated poultry, but also, preventively, those located within a perimeter of 5 km around the homes.

According to the ministry, “1.116 million poultry (mostly ducks) were slaughtered in the South West on the orders of the administration.”

For the Cifog foie gras interprofessional organization, these slaughterings do not go fast enough “in the face of the aggressiveness of the virus”.

It calls once again in a press release “urgently to strengthen technical and logistical means on the ground to deal with sources of contamination”.

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Even though “outdoor farming is part of the industry’s DNA,” she calls for “all animals to be kept safe in high-risk periods to protect them from bird contamination.” savages “.

Containment of poultry is the rule when avian influenza threatens to be spread by migrating birds, but an exemption allows farms with fewer than 3,200 palmipeds to keep them outside.

Agriculture Minister Julien Denormandie questioned this exemption, believing that all producers should invest in buildings to keep ducks locked up if necessary.

For the Confédération paysanne and Modef – unions representing small producers – the outdoors is a “scapegoat”. They denounce the “industrialization” of the foie gras sector, “the race for volumes” and the segmentation of production – when separate farms deal with palmipeds before and during force-feeding – “generating incessant flows of live animals “.

In a recent opinion published by the health agency Anses, the experts of the collective emergency expertise group (Gecu) “Influenza 2020”, “recall the crucial importance of compliance with biosecurity measures (in particular the effective containment of all birds in high-risk periods), the drastic limitation of animal movements (…), the movement of people and the loan of equipment, in this region where the density and practices of poultry farming inevitably favor the spread of an infection, once it has been introduced “.

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