France moves to shelter and confine all poultry as bird flu spreads

The French government has moved to shelter and confine all poultry as the country is placed at ‘high risk’ considering the recent spread of avian influenza (bird flu) across the European continent

Julien Denormandie, French Minister for Agriculture and Food, enforced these preventative measures in a statement released today, Friday, November 5.

The evolution of the avian influenza epidemic in Europe leads us today to raise the level of risk and take the necessary measures to ensure the protection of our industries,” Denormandie said.

“I therefore appeal to everyone’s responsibility.”

The measures include:

  • Sheltering all commercial poultry and putting backyards under netting;
  • Prohibiting the organisation and participation of gatherings involving poultry in the areas of concern; and
  • Reinforced conditions for transport and caging for wild game.

There are also procedures in place for zoos and pigeon racing.

The French government notes that this does not call into question the ‘avian influenza-free’ status of France.

Bird flu

Since the beginning of August, according the French government, 130 cases or outbreaks of bird flu have been detected in wildlife or in farms in Europe, including France.

The outbreaks are believed to be caused by migrating wild birds carrying the disease as they travel across countries.

Yesterday (November 4), an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) was put in place across the whole of Great Britain, following a number of identified cases in both captive and wild birds here at home.

Under the AIPZ, all bird keepers in Great Britain must legally follow strict biosecurity measures to help protect their flock from avian influenza (avian flu) – commonly known as bird flu.

Other countries with identified cases include Italy; Germany; the Netherlands; Estonia; Poland; and Denmark.

Nearby in the Republic of Ireland, a highly pathogenic case of bird flu was confirmed by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) in a wild bird in the west of the country.

While bird flu is a zoonotic disease – meaning it can be spread between animals and humans – this is extremely rare, and the risk of this is currently low.