Tuesday 21 March 2023

Bird flu death toll tops one million, new farm is hit near German border

Officials at the Frieslan farm on Tuesday. Photo: Anton Kappers ANP/HH

Bird flu has hit two poultry farms in Bentelo, near Enschede on the German border, leading to the cull of nearly 190,000 birds.

The clearance takes the total number of birds killed since the epidemic began to over one million, according to ministry figures. The bird flu virus has been found on 13 farms so far, and a further six have been cleared as a preventative measure.

Three other poultry farms less than a kilometre from the latest affected area are now being closely monitored to see if the virus has spread. The current epidemic of bird flu is the worst to hit Europe, according to the German authorities.

On Tuesday, some 177,000 chickens were culled on a poultry farm in Blija in Friesland.

The Dutch outbreak started at an organic poultry farm in Zeeland in October last year and was preceded by reports of a rise in dead wild birds.

Outgoing agriculture minister Carola Schouten then initiated national measures to prevent the disease from spreading and all poultry are now required to be kept indoors. There are also tough restrictions on the movement of birds and how to deal with their manure.

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