In total, according to the ministry, 332,753 animals have been euthanized in the twenty French farms contaminated since August 1.

The virus, which usually disappears in summer due to rising temperatures, continued to circulate in wildlife this year, after a terrible 2021/2022 season. Cases on farms were identified from the end of July on the Channel coast.

The official counting of bird flu outbreaks for the 2022-2023 season started on August 1.

Since that date, most of the confirmed cases have been in the Great West (Pays de la Loire, Brittany and Normandy). The virus has hit farms with turkeys, laying hens and waterfowl, and particularly affected breeding ducks, which are strategic for the renewal of farms.

A case was also spotted in the South-West, in the duck farm of an individual in Gironde.

On a European scale, France is the second country “declaring the most poultry outbreaks since the start of the 2022-2023 season”, after Germany, according to the weekly bulletin of the French platform for epidemiological surveillance in animal health. (ESA).

The risk level was raised to “moderate” at the end of September. The rearing of poultry in the open air is prohibited in the areas most at risk, to avoid contact with migratory birds carrying the virus.

The previous outbreak of the virus in French farms (end of November 2021 – mid-May 2022) had led to the slaughter – including preventive – of 21 million birds, a level never seen before.

This episode caused a shock in the poultry sector, surprised by the extent of contamination in the Pays de la Loire regions (in particular in Vendée) and Brittany, large breeding grounds which had been spared during the previous crises linked to the Avian Flu.

The bill is heavy: the State plans to pay a billion euros to compensate breeders as well as industrialists who lack meat and eggs to run their factories.

As a general rule, poultry are euthanized individually by a veterinarian or collectively in boxes filled with carbon dioxide, before being transported to rendering.