Bird flu is back in the Southwest. The virus has been circulating again since the beginning of May in the region, with 81 farms contaminated, more than half of them in the Gers, according to the latest count of the authorities. In order to guarantee the "survival" of poultry and duck farms in the region, agricultural organizations in four departments are asking the government to "deploy" the vaccine "in the heart of summer".
These are the chambers of agriculture of Gers, Landes, Hautes-Pyrénées, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, the interprofession of foie gras (Cifog) and the interregional association of lean poultry in Nouvelle-Aquitaine (Airvol). In a joint statement, they also demand contributions from the State and communities for the management of this vaccination, as well as a "depopulation of all palmipeds" within a radius of three kilometers around breeding farms.
"The challenge is now indeed the survival of the poultry and palmiped sectors in the Southwest, their thousands of jobs, their history, their heritage that are on a thread, ready to break," warn these organizations.
A vaccination campaign "from autumn"
Two vaccines tested in France have already proven "very effective" on ducks raised for foie gras, reported Thursday, May 25 the health security agency (ANSES), paving the way for a national vaccination campaign. The repetition and scale of avian influenza crises have convinced European countries to devise a vaccine strategy.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, the national vaccination campaign could take place "as early as autumn 2023", with the vaccination strategy to be finalized in June. During the previous epizootic in 2022-2023, six million poultry were slaughtered in France according to the ministry, after 22 million in 2021-2022.