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France orders third foie gras duck shots to stop avian flu epidemic

  • Duck vaccination protocol modified
  • Paris raises avian flu risk
  • Ongoing outbreaks; wildlife impact

As a result of the discovery of additional cases of avian flu on Tuesday, Paris elevated the risk level to high, requiring poultry farms to confine their animals indoors.

For ducks at risk, France has ordered a third round of avian flu vaccines.
According to “new scientific evidence” cited by the French Ministry of Agriculture on Wednesday, the vaccinations are being administered to prevent an outbreak surge.

As a result of the discovery of additional cases of avian flu on Tuesday, Paris elevated the risk level to high, requiring poultry farms to confine their animals indoors.

The ministry said in a statement, “New scientific evidence has prompted us to modify the vaccination protocol to ensure the highest level of animal protection and prevent an epizootic outbreak.”

Duck Vaccination Protocol Modification

A three-dose protocol will be used in mallard duck-high-risk locations until March 15, 2024.

Mallard ducks, which are controversially used to make foie gras, are hybrids of two domestic duck species.

Paris’ duck vaccination programme began in early October, giving 60 million ducks two vaccinations over a year.

France selected the vaccine for production at Boehringer Ingelheim, Germany. The company stated that the decision to administer a third dose was made subsequent to post-shot monitoring, which revealed a significant risk of circulating avian flu transmission and a decline in duck immunity at 11 weeks of age.

Boehringer France’s chief of communications, Doriane Vadot, stated, “It is normal for the vaccination strategy to be refined as field monitoring and additional research are conducted, considering the unprecedented nature of the current campaign.”

Ongoing Outbreaks and Concerns

Since November 27, four outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza, also known as bird flu, have been identified.

The agriculture ministry reported that three of these occurred in Brittany, western France, and one in the Somme, northern France.

All of these occurred on poultry farms. As of yet, no outbreak has been documented among waterfowl.

As of November 19, 3.6 million ducks had received two avian flu vaccines and 6.9 million had received their first.

Although no harm is caused by avian flu in food, it can inflict destruction on flocks. The possibility of human transmission poses a threat to its spread.

It comes after NatureScot, an organization affiliated with the Scottish Government, reported that avian flu caused “huge losses” at the breeding colonies of guillemots, kittiwakes, and terns in Scotland this summer.

The nature agency reported receiving 9,610 reports of deceased or ailing wild birds nationwide. This occurred from April 3 to October 1 of this year.

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