France Announces New Measures to Halt Avian Flu Spread

FRANCE - No new outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza have been reported in France since 12 January, but the country has devised two new decrees to help with the clean up effort and prevent further outbreaks from occurring.
calendar icon 11 February 2016
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There have been 70 outbreaks of the disease in total, in the fois gras-producing southwestern region of France since November 2015.

Several different strains of the virus caused devastation for poultry farmers as thousands of birds had to be destroyed.

In January, France announced measures to prevent farms being restocked until thorough disinfection had been completed. Industry players agreed that the measures were necessary and should be implemented.

The key to France's strategy is progressive depopulation in the affected area, by increasingly reducing the bird population in the area from 18 January to 2 May. After that, the idea is that producers will be allowed to repopulate their farms under satisfactory biosecurity conditions.

One of the two new decrees sets out the conditions for depopulation and allowing farmers to restock, including appropriate screening and biosecurity measures.

The second order sets out farmers' obligations to adopt biosecurity measures, and comes into force on 1 July. The biosecurity rules will be compulsory for every production facility, but will vary according to the type of poultry raised on the farm.

France's Agriculture Secretary Stéphane Le Foll stressed the importance of practical implementation of these decrees, in order to ensure the sustainability of the sector and to regain trust at European and international levels.

Further Reading

You can view the two decrees by clicking here.

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