Dutch government orders cull of 36,000 chickens after bird flu outbreak

Brown chickens behind a fence
Free range chickens on farm, Netherlands, photo: Taju_S via Canva

The Dutch government will kill 36,000 chickens after a bird flu outbreak at a farm in Zeewolde. The minister of Agriculture, Carola Schouten, also ordered all farmers in the Netherlands to keep their chickens inside.

The ban will be lifted after around 30 days if bird flu is not detected again in the area. This means that all farmed chickens, turkeys, ducks and other birds have to stay inside for at least a month. 

The farmer in Zeewolde called a veterinarian after the chickens in his company became ill and started dying. The veterinarian determined that the chickens had bird flu.

Governments all over the world are mass killing animals as a solution for bird flu outbreaks at farms. 

France killed around 3 million birds after a bird flu outbreak. Last week, 25,000 turkeys were killed in Israel, and Bulgaria killed more than 250,000 ducks and chickens in February.

Avian influenza usually only affects birds, but the rise in human bird flu cases has experts worried. China reported 21 cases of humans infected with the H5N6 strain of bird flu this year; at least six people died. In July, an 11-year-old boy died from the H5N1 strain of bird flu in India. 

In June, a 41-year-old man in China was infected with the H10N3 strain of bird flu. And in February, Russian scientists said they’d detected the H5N8 strain of bird flu in humans.

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