France Uses Pre-emptive Slaughter to Curb Bird Flu

The French government announced a new eradication strategy to battle bird flu. It involves culling all waterfowl with access to the outdoors in some key regions in Gers, Landes and Hautes-Pyrenees.

France has been hit by a total of 89 outbreaks of the highly pathogenic H5N8 virus as of Wednesday (January 4). The announcement underlined the urgency of the situation.

The idea behind the new strategy is to remove the population of the types of birds most affected by the disease from infected regions. Following the slaughter, roads and buildings in the areas will be cleaned and disinfected.

All culling measures are expected to be complete by January 20. The cost of the depopulation operation will be shouldered by the state.

The virus also infected several countries in the past few weeks, including the Czech Republic, Ireland Slovakia, Greece and Bulgaria. Several different strains of avian influenza have also been circulating in Asian countries, including South Korea, where more than 30 million birds have been culled to control the disease.

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