Holland to kill more than 35,000 chickens at Dutch farm

Chickens, photo: Christin Hume on Unsplash
Chickens, photo: Christin Hume on Unsplash

Dutch animal health authorities will kill 35,700 chickens after a strain of bird flu was found on a farm in the town of Altforst in the Netherlands, the government said on Thursday in a statement.

All the chickens on the farm will be killed by the Dutch government. Dutch chicken farmers have been ordered to keep their birds indoors to prevent them from getting the illness from wild birds.

Killing and selling chickens is a 1.6 billion euro ($1.9 billion) industry in the Netherlands. With 2000 farms, the country is Europe’s largest exporter of chicken meat and eggs.

“These animals are not killed because they are sick or pose a danger to public health or other animals, but to protect a trading position,” Erwin Vermeulen from the animal welfare organization Animal Rights told The Animal Reader.

They are disappointed that the Dutch government is so quick to order mass killings of animals: first the over two million mink that were gassed recently and now a mass murder of chickens.

Chickens are individuals like cats and dogs, that are smart and feel empathy, research shows. They are able to remember and recognize over 100 individuals, including humans. 

Minister Schouten of Agriculture declared a transport ban for chicken farms in a zone of 10 kilometers around the company in Altforst. A transport ban covers live chicken, birds, eggs and other farm products. 

Authorities were also testing for the disease at other chicken businesses within a 3-km radius. Anywhere the disease is found, animals will be killed, according to ‘protocol’.

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