Netherlands kills 148,000 birds in a week after bird flu outbreaks

Hundreds of chickens close to each other in a shed with no room to move, Netherlands kills 148,000 birds in a week after bird flu outbreaks
Chickens have to stay inside a chicken shed for at least a month in the Netherlands after bird flu outbreaks, Wijk en Aalburg, Netherlands on October 26, 2021, credit: Utrecht Robin/Abaca via Reuters Connect

The Dutch government ordered the killing of almost 148,000 birds in a week after five bird flu outbreaks in the country. The animals were killed and their bodies destroyed. All outbreaks were of a highly pathogenic variant of bird flu, the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) said.

60,000 ducks killed
Bird flu was diagnosed on Sunday at a duck farm in Schuinesloot in the city of Hardenberg in the east of the Netherlands. Around 60,000 ducks were killed to prevent the virus from spreading.

In another city in the east of the Netherlands, around 150 water birds and chickens were killed at a small hobby farmer. In September, bird flu was detected at the same small farm.

87,000 chickens killed
Around 87,000 chickens were killed on Friday after avian influenza was detected at a farm in Tjerkgaast in the north of the country. On Thursday, the NVWA mandated the killing of around 500 water birds and chickens at a small farmer in the east of the country after bird flu was detected.

On Wednesday, 35 chickens, 20 geese and ten guinea fowl were killed after bird flu was discovered at a small farm in Zuid-Scharwoude in the north of the Netherlands.

Dutch virologist Thijs Kuiken of the Erasmus University Rotterdam said earlier that the highly pathogenic H5N1 type of bird flu emerged due to intensive bird farming.

“Normally, wild birds only carry the low-pathogenic variant. In intensive chicken farming, this mild flu mutated into a serious variant,” Kuijken said. The H5N1 variant escaped from intensive bird farms in Asia and has been spreading through Europe, Asia, North America 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 stated.

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