already ten million birds slaughtered in France

These massive slaughters are followed by long phases without animals on the farms, called “sanitary vacuums”, suggesting a drop in the supply of chickens, turkeys and ducks.

Since the first case identified in northern France at the end of November, around 1,000 farms have been infected (983 confirmed outbreaks), including 451 in Vendée, where authorities are in the process of emptying farms including healthy animals. – preventively. . In just a few weeks, this hitherto unscathed department was more affected than Landes (231 cases), a stronghold of ducks regularly affected by avian flu since 2015. The number of outbreaks is also increasing in the Vendée neighbors: 70 in the Loire -Atlantique , 63 in Maine-et-Loire.

According to information communicated to AFP on Wednesday by the Ministry of Agriculture, almost half of the ten million animals sacrificed come from the Pays de la Loire. This region is the second largest French poultry production area after Brittany, where two cases were recently identified.

“NOour priority is to prevent the virus from spreading further“, explained Agriculture Minister Julien Denormandie during a trip to Vendée on Tuesday.

It’s a psychological tsunami for creators“, said Wednesday the president of the majority union FNSEA, Christiane Lambert, referring to the “risk that 30% of French birds will be slaughtered“. The guinea hens were particularly “decimated“, she lamented.

industrial impacts

Poultry and foie gras professionals warn that supply will inevitably be reduced. The machine cannot be restarted quickly: after slaughter, farms will be empty for several weeks to ensure the disappearance of the virus, and it will still be necessary to wait before marketing the animals.

For example, four months elapse between the arrival of a bird on a farm and the marketing of turkey meat.“, notes the poultry interprofession Anvol.”This situation is dramatic for breeders and will lead to a reduction in slaughter activity or even the temporary closure of some locations.“industrial, anticipates the French leader in poultry LDC.

The minority union Confédération paysanne and the association for the defense of farmed animals CIWF denounce the management of the slaughter by the authorities. As a general rule, birds are euthanized individually by a veterinarian or collectively in boxes filled with carbon dioxide, before being transported for processing. The Confédération paysanne alleges that shepherds are sometimes asked to do the “dirty work” when the farm is infected: digging holes for “bury dead animals on or near farms“, even set to “interrupt ventilation to cause the death of animals by suffocation“.

The Minister of Agriculture on Tuesday invited the “ndo not generalize from a few cases“.”Today, we always favor other solutions than this one. But in some cases, it can be authorized by derogation and allowed by regulations, when one considers that it is the only solution to avoid situations where animals slowly die for days.“, said Mr. Denormandie.

Avian flu-related crises generally remain confined to the Southwest. Last year, around 500 outbreaks were reported on farms and 3.5 million animals, mainly ducks, were culled.

Thirty-four European countries have been affected by the virus since it reappeared on the continent in the fall. In addition to French farms, those in northern Italy were particularly affected, with 18 million birds culled, mostly from large farms.

Let us recall, quoting the Pasteur Institute that: “Although most avian viruses do not infect humans, some subtypes sometimes manage to cross the species barrier: this is the case with the H5N1 virus, which is pathogenic for humans and is present in Asia. Currently, transmission of the virus is only from animals to humans, but health officials fear an evolution of the virus into a form transmissible from human to human, opening the door to a pandemic.“How to be careful…

with AFP

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