France Launches Mass Vaccination Campaign to Fight Bird Flu in Ducks & Aims to End Costly Culling
France has initiated a significant nationwide effort to combat bird flu among ducks, to end the costly mass culling of these birds. Approximately 60 million ducks in France will receive vaccinations over the next year as part of this campaign, which seeks to protect the poultry industry from substantial financial losses. This campaign represents the only large-scale avian influenza vaccination effort in Europe. It mandates a two-dose vaccination regimen for ducklings, even as young as 10 days old, on farms housing more than 250 birds.
The vaccination campaign commenced on a farm in the Landes region of southwestern France, with French Agriculture Minister Marc Fesneau overseeing the first shots. The French government is providing 85% of the total €96 million ($102 million) cost of this initiative.
The primary objective of this groundbreaking vaccination plan is to safeguard all farmed birds and put an end to the preventive culling of animals, a practice widely regarded as undesirable. The French duck and foie gras production group CIFOG expressed its support for the campaign, emphasising its potential to minimise large-scale outbreaks on farms.
Regular bird flu outbreaks have plagued France since 2020, particularly after a severe wave from 2015 to 2017. Each outbreak typically necessitates culling the entire farm population and nearby farms, resulting in production disruptions and substantial financial burdens. There are also concerns that the virus could mutate and become transmissible to humans, potentially leading to further pandemics.
While the vaccination effort aims to protect the poultry industry and prevent widespread culling, it has faced some opposition. Certain consumers have expressed reluctance to purchase meat from vaccinated ducks. Moreover, international trade repercussions have emerged, with the United States imposing restrictions on French poultry imports, citing the risk of introducing the virus. Japan has also announced the suspension of French poultry product imports following the vaccination campaign’s commencement.
Liked this post?
Register at One World News to never miss out on videos, celeb interviews, and best reads.