Avian flu outbreak continues, concerns for the sector

Avian flu outbreak continues, concerns for the sector

Avian flu outbreak continues, concerns for the sector

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Bird flu continues to progress in France: 4.6 million poultry have been culled since summer 2022. The virus particularly affects the Pays-de-la-Loire region, the second largest French poultry production region after Brittany.

More than a million birds have been slaughtered in a month. The epidemic continues to accelerate, the previous evaluation of the epizootic reported, as of December 22, the slaughter of 3.3 million birds. As in the spring, the virus hit hard in the Pays-de-la-Loire region (west), the second largest French poultry production area after Brittany. The discovery of new cases is slowing down in this region, but outbreaks are emerging in the southwest, particularly in the Landes and the Gers, historical bastions of foie gras. In total, the authorities have identified 286 outbreaks in cattle, including 120 in the Vendée, since August 1, which marks the start of the 2022-2023 epizootic.

France is now the country with the most breeding households, ahead of the UK and Hungary. But the pandemic is also affecting 29 European countries to varying degrees, says the French platform for epidemiological surveillance in animal health (ESA). From October 2021 to September 2022, more than 50 million poultry were culled on infected European farms, according to European health authorities. A report that does not include the preventive slaughter of healthy animals around the outbreaks.

imported chickens

For Joël Limouzin, president of the Vendée Chamber of Agriculture, the pandemic threatens the future of the poultry sector and risks increasing imports. “ To the big question, will there still be poultry meat in the stalls tomorrow? I would say yes, there will always be, he believes. The only real question that will arise is: where does it come from? Do we let Brazilian meat come to the end without looking specifically at the production conditions, because we still have an ethic in terms of production in Europe, in France and also requirements in terms of use, medicines and type of diet? There are many consumers who ask for free-range chicken, etc. So there is a real paradox between talking about sustainable development and local production and then bringing chicken from Brazil. »

The only ray of hope for breeders: the government announced on December 23 a first vaccination campaign in autumn 2023 to reactivate the sector.

(And with AFP)

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