France Authorizes Asphyxiation Culling as Bird Flu Cases Rise

A French authority has announced that it has allowed some farmers to kill their poultry by asphyxia in order to stop the further spread of bird flu in France. 

French Agriculture Minister Julien Denormandie, who was quoted in a report by Reuters, clarified though that this will apply in some cases when it is considered “the only solution to avoid situations where you have animals dying during several hours or several days.”

According to the data from the French Ministry of Agriculture and Food, there has had 983 outbreaks recorded of the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in livestock, 39 cases in wildlife, and 19 cases in backyards. 

Killing poultry by asphyxia has faced several oppositions from farm unions and animal welfare activists tagging the practice as cruel and unacceptable. 

Since September 2021, Denormandie has called for strict compliance with biosecurity measures and increased surveillance by professional actors, individual bird owners, and hunters. 

About 3.5 million poultry (mainly ducks) were slaughtered on orders of the administration in the Southwest as a measure to prevent the spread of the bird flu virus. 

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