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Another mass cull of ducks to halt virus in France

DucksCageThe French battle against bird flu virus will see an additional 600,000 ducks culled.

All of the ducks on farms in the Landes department of south-west France close to the Spanish border are to be killed, according to the country’s agriculture minister.

The region is the largest producer of foie gras.

More than 100 cases of animals contaminated with the highly pathogenic H5N8 virus have been discovered in Landes, despite a massive cull in January which saw thousands of ducks gassed.

Minister Stéphane Le Foll said that many ducks in the area had been put down already, but that more needed to be done to "stabilise the area".

"We have already culled a lot of ducks in the eastern part of the area. We know that there is still an area remaining where we will have to take action to cull all the ducks," Le Foll said.

The effort is expected to take “several weeks”.

There have been 273 outbreaks of H5N8 in farms across France and a further 28 in the wild, according to the ministry, with 212 of the outbreaks in Landes department and nearby Gers.

Four other European countries have reported fresh H5N8 outbreaks: 140 dead turkeys at a farm in the Veneto region of Italy, two dead wild birds in Stockholm, five wild swans in northern Croatia, and 10 dead peacocks at a zoo in southern Ukraine.

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