These Varois want to save outdoor poultry farming threatened by new rules on bird flu

Faced with the high risk of avian influenza, a disease transmitted by wild birds, the State published, on September 30, two decrees “signature of the scheduled end of outdoor poultry farming: confinement will soon be mandatory for all farms” according to the Confédération paysanne, which is organizing a demonstration on November 17 in Draguignan (1).

So far, 5,319 municipalities, including three in Var (Ginasservis, Vinon-sur-Verdon and Rians), have been classified as areas of particular risk (ZRP) defined according to the presence of wild birds: wetlands, migration corridors. In the event of a crisis, open-air farms have, under certain conditions, benefited from a derogation from confinement. But since 1er In October, the state created spread risk zones (ZRD) where the probability of the virus spreading from one farm to another is greater than in the rest of the country. 538 municipalities are in the ZRD, none in the department. And tighten the protocol.

Short Course: “Abuse”

“The problem is also the elimination of the outdoor derogation that allowed animals to be kept outdoors for animal welfare reasons. It is replaced by overly restrictive provisions”, according to Florent Vicaire, a breeder of laying hens in Saint-Maximin and co-spokesperson for the Amap network in Provence. For short, ready-to-eat, self-sufficient supply chains, this involves a safety net to prevent wild birds from approaching birds and reduced routes for label birds and small farms, with feedlots of up to ten weeks and 0.5 m2 per bird, that is, eight times less (4 m2) than required on the label.

Leave, therefore, the free trips on courses in the open field or in the forest of chickens, guinea fowl, quail, ducks and other corral birds to indulge in your favorite activity: scratching the ground in search of insects and worms. , eat some grass. “It’s abuse. said Florian Vicar. When they are bored, they will bite themselves, if they get hurt, there will be diseases, we will have to treat them.” With three henhouses, three henhouses and one hundred and ten hens, it guarantees: “We do everything to respect nature and the animals’ well-being. If we have to lock them up, it goes against our project and consumer expectations.” Who are so worried (read next).

The consequences will also be economic and social. “This is going to put the farms in trouble, explains Nina Lejeune, breeder of laying hens in Sillans-la-Cascade and member of the board of directors of the Confédération paysanne du Var. Some farmers, especially in market gardening, have twenty or thirty chickens as an extra activity. I already know some who will stop this workshop, because the implementation of the new measures is very expensive. They are also an obstacle to establish when we are already short of farmers.”

1. The demonstration is organized on Wednesday, November 17th, in front of the prefecture of Draguignan, by the Confédération paysanne, AgribioVar and the Amap de Provence network.

“The precautionary principle is hijacked”

“What is expected of the event? Consideration of birds that can thrive and a difference between industrial farms and free range farms, says Jacques Rapée, from Domaine des Fouques in Hyères. We control what we produce, respecting the animals that make us live and the consumers.”

He notes that “since November 5th, we are at high risk, we learned about it in the media! But in France there is no contamination, we are free from avian flu. Three backyards were impacted in September in the Aisne and Ardennes border departments. There was slaughter and health surveillance. The result of the follow-up is that there is no spread of the virus. We are, therefore, in the precautionary principle taken to the extreme. The problem is not small farms, but factory farms and animal transport.“.

A risk of systematic containment

The Peasant Confederation had requested measures according to risk and by territory. The Var, for example, has about eighty breeders, of which about thirty are in the main activity, the density of cattle and birds is very low there. Nina Lejeune agrees: “Here the chicks arrive at the farms on the day and are raised on site, so there is no transport of animals. This principle of extreme precaution scares us because there is a risk of systematic confinement of birds at this time of year and that it becomes the norm. With these new restrictions, it’s the end of human-scale farms.”

The priority isfight to obtain the means so that the outdoor sector does not disappear”, concludes Jacques Rapée. The cost of safety nets and the vet weakens farms. Added to this is the fact that at the moment the hens are laying less because the days are short and the small breeders do not light their henhouses. It is also a very important period for broiler producers, as the end of the year celebrations are approaching.

everyone’s fight

“The protection of traditional breeding is one of our struggles, we want to consume healthy and good quality products“, explains Mireille Bertola, co-spokesperson for the Amap network in Provence, which represents just under 90 Amap out of 200 in the region.

Because consumers also want to save free-range poultry. Some will be present alongside the creators to demonstrate in Draguignan, with arguments: “For me it is already a way of approaching the territory. Outdoor livestock are human-scale farms, which offer local products, in short circuit, adds Eric Bertola, her husband. It is also a matter of the quality of the meat and eggs. We must not forget that this bird flu arrives and develops through factory farms“.

For him, “It is important to publicize this problem, otherwise, little by little, these small properties will disappear. When we publicized the fact that Europe wanted to ban raw milk cheeses, it worked, they backtracked.

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