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France orders massive duck cull to contain bird flu

Staff Writer |
France ordered a massive cull of ducks in three regions most affected by a severe outbreak of bird flu as it tries to contain the virus.

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All free range ducks, as well as geese, will be slaughtered between January 5 and approximately January 20 in an area in southwestern France comprising parts of the Gers, Landes and Hautes-Pyrenees administrative departments.

France, which has the largest poultry flock in the European Union, has reported 89 outbreaks of the highly contagious H5N8 bird flu virus so far, a majority of which are in the Gers.

"The principle is to quickly kill the species most affected to date by the virus," the ministry said in a statement, saying these were ducks reared by foie gras makers.

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