-  Saturday 15 August 2020

    France begins vaccinations against bird flu

    PARIS, Feb. 27 (Xinhuanet) -- France started on Monday vaccinating more than 700,000 geese and ducks in the southwest of the country in an attempt to prevent the spread of bird flu.
    The vaccination was started in the region of Landes in southwestern France, famous for its foie gras goose and duck pates,officials of the farm ministry said.

    The European Union (EU) authorized on Wednesday a vaccination program in France and Holland. France, Europe's first big poultry producer and exporter, is the only EU country to have confirmed the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu at a poultry farm. French Agriculture Minister Dominique Bussereau announced on Sunday that the virus was spreading following the discovery of 50 dead swans and wild ducks over the past four days.

    Domestic consumption was already down 30 percent before news emerged on Saturday that at least 400 turkeys had died of H5N1. The industry was then dealt a further blow when Hong Kong joined Japan to ban imports of French poultry and poultry products, including the famous foie gras.

    France has 30,600 commercial poultry farms with a combined turnover of 6 billion euros (about 7.2 billion U.S. dollars) providing 65,000 jobs. Britain has criticized the use of vaccines in poultry, saying they could mask the effects of the disease and make it more difficult to tackle the spread of the virus. The vaccination operation in France will last a month and a half. Holland hopes to begin the vaccination in two or three weeks, covering only backyard and free-range poultry. Enditem

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