The French government announced today (Thursday, November 10) that the level of avian influenza (bird flu) risk in France has moved from ‘moderate’ to ‘high‘.

New prevention measures have been introduced following further outbreaks of bird flu which requires all poultry throughout France to be housed.

French Minister of Agriculture and Food Sovereignty, Marc Fesneau, highlighted that as of Tuesday (November 8), 49 outbreaks of bird flu have been confirmed in France.

The French government said that cases in farmyards and in wildlife are also numerous and increasing.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Food Sovereignty in France today ordered the:

  •  Sheltering of all poultry throughout the metropolitan territory.
  • Prohibition of gatherings of poultry throughout the metropolitan territory.
  • Obligation to cover trucks transporting waterfowl older than 3 days.

Fesneau stressed that it was essential to strengthen preventive measures to avoid the spreading of the disease on poultry farms.

For all birdkeepers in the sector, the government advised vigilance in ensuring the strictest application of biosecurity measures to prevent the virus from entering farms and to stop its spread between farms. 

The same recommendations apply to private owners of backyard and ornamental birds, it said.

The French Ministry of Agriculture and Food Sovereignty said the move to a high risk level had been introduced after consultation with ANSES, (French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety) and the French Office for Biodiversity (OFB), which observed active flows of migratory birds and an unusually high number of outbreaks for the period.

The ministry has advised that its department will carry out checks on compliance and that to ensure that applicable measures are being followed due to the increased level of risk. 

It has also warned that any breeder who is non-compliant with the new rules that have come into force will face a reduction in possible compensation levels.