Some 7,000 ducks have been slaughtered and 4,500 have died from disease in the Tarn, according to the prefecture, and the virus has spread rapidly in the departments of the Gers, with three farms affected, in the Hautes-Pyrenees and Lot-et-Garonne. But the foie gras already produced, in particular with a view of the end of the year holidays, are not affected.
The first outbreak of avian influenza H5N8 has hit a duck farm in the municipality of Almayrac (Tarn).
“A day before the findings of the first dead ducks in a second breeding of Almayrac, a convoy is gone with ducks,” explained the prefect of Tarn Jean-Michel Mougard. In all, some 7,000 waterfowls would be gone to other departments, according to figures from the prefecture.
“The goal is to prevent absolutely the spread of the virus“, “this virus as a pathogen is extremely dangerous, because the mortality occurs rapidly. This is the first time that we see this degree of virulence,” said the prefect of the Tarn.
“ducks ready to force-feed were transported in the three farms” affected in the Gers, has confirmed to the prefect of the department, Peter Ory, and the same supplier (in the Tarn) “is at the origin of the infections” in the Hautes-Pyrénées, Lot-et-Garonne and the Gers.
But, in the Gers, “these cases are in households that are confined, which can contain,”-he stressed. Approximately 690 ducks have already been slaughtered and 3.200 will be Saturday. The economic damage is already important because 70 éléveurs are concerned, and the gavage is stopped in the department.
A case has also been detected in the Hautes-Pyrenees with 1,000 ducks already slaughtered, according to the prefecture of this department.
“suspicion” case of avian flu has also been detected in a room, force-feeding of ducks of the Lot-et-Garonne, where more than 2,000 ducks have already been slaughtered in the expectation of final results, said Friday the prefecture and chamber of agriculture.
To explain the resurgence of this disease, the ministry points out that many cases have been reported in Europe in recent weeks and that “the role of migratory birds appears to be pivotal in the dissemination of this virus“. With the approach of winter, they move more to the south.
This strain of the virus had first been detected on the 26th of November in the Pas-de-Calais, on wild ducks.
- ‘turn Off the first embers’ –
His appearance in a farming this time, “will not allow France to recover the 3 December, as planned, its status in [country] free of avian influenza“, specifies the ministry of Agriculture.
Gold status, lost by France a year ago following a previous episode of bird flu, is essential to be able to export poultry and foie gras in many countries outside Europe, such as Japan.
“there will be foie gras to the end of the year. The only thing it challenges is the disease free status which allows then to be able to export without any problem“, was keen to reassure the minister of Agriculture Stéphane Le Foll.
These new cases do not present any link with the episode that occurred last year in the south-west of France, where it is a mutation of a virus that circulated previously without causing a blaze that was in question.
But for the producers of foie gras in the South-West already highly experienced, the aim is to “to turn off the first embers to prevent the fire from spreading“, indicated to the AFP the president of the interprofessional Committee of the waterfowls to foie gras (Cifog), Christophe Barrailh.
These new cases “push, the blow, yet three months to the calendar of reclaiming the status of a country +free+“, he laments. In 2015, France had exported about 5,000 tonnes of foie gras, about 19.200 tonnes produced in the country.