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Bird flu found outside restriction zone in France

Staff writer |
Bird flu has been found in a French town outside a broad restriction zone. The European Union's largest agricultural producer has had 69 outbreaks in eight administrative departments since late November.

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A case has now been found in Haute-Garonne, which is not included in the zone where the government has put in place tightened sanitary measures and restricted movement of poultry since mid-December, a farm ministry official said.

The zone includes Dordogne, Gers, Haute-Vienne, Landes, Pyrenees-Atlantiques, Hautes-Pyrenees and Lot - as well as the whole of Gironde and Lot-et-Garonne, and parts of the Correze and Charente departments.

French poultry producers pledged to delay new duck and geese rearing to contain a bird flu virus outbreak which has spread in the southwest of the country, the farm ministry said.

The plan was endorsed by farm ministry officials at a meeting with sector representatives. It will be submitted next week to the European Commission for approval.

Producers proposed to suspend new rearing starting from January 18 and to wait for all farms, slaughterhouses and production equipment in the region to be cleaned and disinfected before resuming it, the ministry said.

Farms where rearing has already started would be allowed to continue production until the animals are culled.

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