Dutch authorities killed 216,000 baby chickens after discovering bird flu at two farms. All 170,000 chicks at a farm in Grootschermer were killed after bird flu was detected. And 46,000 baby chickens at a farm in Willemstad were also killed after avian influenza was discovered.
In October, the Dutch government ordered farmers to keep their birds inside to try to control the virus, but outbreaks keep happening, with the country killing hundreds of thousands of birds since outbreaks started in 2021.
The highly pathogenic H5N1 strain of bird flu has been spreading through Europe and Asia. The highly pathogenic, sickening form of bird flu that emerged is due to intensive bird farming, according to Dutch virologist Thijs Kuiken of Erasmus University Rotterdam.
“Normally, wild birds only carry the low-pathogenic variant. In intensive poultry farming, this mild flu mutated into a serious variant,” Kuiken said. Years ago, this variant escaped from animal farms in Asia, and since then, it has been circulating in Europe, Asia and Africa.
“In the long term, we have to realize that the intensive way of raising animals, with a huge number of animals huddled together in one spot, is no longer sustainable for many reasons,” Kuiken said.
“If we don’t stop doing that, we will automatically encounter another outbreak of bird flu or a still unknown ‘disease X’,” he concluded.
The Animal Reader is a small independent animal news platform. If you can, we would really appreciate your support.