The government had ordered last week the slaughter of all free range
ducks, as well as geese, in part of the southwest in a push to halt
the spread of the severe H5N8 bird flu virus.
In a decree published in the government's official journal, France
listed 187 districts as covered by the preventative cull, compared
with 150 in the initial order last week.
France had as of Monday confirmed 109 outbreaks of the H5N8 virus on
poultry farms, according to the farm ministry, compared to around 90
when culling of birds began last Thursday.
A group representing producers of foie gras, the delicacy made from
duck or goose liver, last week estimated that at least 800,000 ducks
would be slaughtered out of a total of 1.3 million birds that were
in the initial zone.
A farm ministry spokesman said the extension of the zone was in
response to new bird flu cases, and that this could increase the
number of animals culled. He declined to give an estimate as to how
many could end up being culled.
Southwestern France was the center of a severe outbreak of bird flu
a year ago, related to other strains of the virus, which led
authorities to halt foie gras output for several months in a move
that producers say cost them 500 million euros ($528.95 million).
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The H5N8 strain, which is deadly for poultry but has not been found
in humans, has spread across Europe since late last year, leading to
the slaughter of some farm flocks and the confinement of poultry
Different bird flu strains have also spread in Asia in recent weeks
leading to the slaughter of millions of birds in South Korea and
Japan, and some human infections in China.
(Reporting by Gus Trompiz and Sybille de La Hamaide; Editing by
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