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Duck farming resumes in France with end of bird flu crisis

Staff Writer |
Duck farmers in southwestern France resumed operations on Monday with the latest outbreak of bird flu now deemed to be under control after the culling of millions of birds and a six-week halt to production.

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France, which has the largest poultry flock in the European Union, is one of the countries that has been the most affected by the H5N8 bird flu virus that has spread through wild birds in most parts of the continent since late last year.

The loss in output of some 12 million ducks this year – including 4.5 million culled and 7.5 million not produced – combined with the additional costs of tackling bird flu outbreaks, will lead to higher foie gras prices this year, producers said. They declined to give precise forecasts.

The cost of a second major bird flu crisis in the country in as many years will be around 350 million euros ($391 million) this year, after a 270 million-euro bill in 2016 when farmers in the region had to halt output for several months to avoid a spread of the H5N1 virus, Cifog said.

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