France lifts restrictions as bird flu crisis eases

14-06 | |
In the first wave, about 4 million birds were culled in southwestern France, mainly ducks. Photo: Cole Keister
In the first wave, about 4 million birds were culled in southwestern France, mainly ducks. Photo: Cole Keister

Following the culling of 16 million birds in France in the worst-ever crisis of avian influenza, France has announced that it would remove nationwide bird flu-related restrictions on poultry farming.

France is the EU’s second-largest poultry producer and the recent outbreaks have been the most severe that the country has seen. Although restrictions remained in place in the most affected regions, in May, many restrictions had been eased, including keeping birds inside.

There have since been 4 avian influenza outbreaks detected on farms, and none since 17 May. This prompted France’s officials to lower the risk level assessment to “negligible” for the whole country.

“This basically means the crisis is behind us,” said a ministry official.

The virus, which was brought by wild birds migrating in the autumn, hit all countries in the 27-member EU, except Malta and Cyprus, with Italy suffering the most severe damage, reports Reuters. France has, in total, recorded 1,378 bird flu outbreaks since late November with Pays de Loire, France’s second-largest poultry producing region, the worst hit.

Berkhout
Natalie Berkhout Freelance journalist



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