The Dutch government killed 300,000 chickens at a farm in the Netherlands after bird flu was detected, authorities reported on Thursday. Due to the large number, gassing the animals will take some time, authorities said.
The bird flu outbreak at a chicken farm at Heythuysen in the southern Limburg province is the largest this year in the country, the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality said.
Since October last year, the Dutch government killed almost 6 million birds, including chickens, turkeys and ducks at 98 locations across the country after bird flu outbreaks. Piet Adema, the Dutch agriculture minister, stated in a letter to parliament last week that the situation “is not sustainable. Not for the animals, not for the sector, and not for society.”
The country has ordered all birds to be kept indoors since October 5 to control the virus, but prevention seems impossible.
“We have immediately instituted a ban on transport” of all bird products, including eggs, meat and manure, the Dutch food security agency NVWA said in a statement. Five other farms within a radius of five kilometres “are being screened and will be monitored for bird flu for the coming two weeks.”
Worst bird flu epidemic in Europe
The European health service ECDC said in early October that the current bird flu epidemic is the worst ever seen in Europe. The highly pathogenic strain of bird flu has spread across 37 European countries. The countries with the most infections are Germany, France, and the Netherlands.