Landes breeders are asking for more resources in the face of bird flu

Landes breeders are asking for more resources in the face of bird flu

Violet Field inPlanetJan 5, 2021 4 min read5 views

Marie-Hélène Cazaubon, breeder and president of the Landes Chamber of Agriculture, calls for help in the face of the accelerating epidemic in her departure

A third duck farm has been affected in the Lands - ROMUALD MEIGNEUX / SIPA
  • The situation is increasingly worrying in the Landes. The number of homes infected with bird flu has tripled in one week.
  • Marie-Hélène Cazaubon, breeder and president of the Chamber of Agriculture of the department, asks for additional resources to speed up the cleaning of farms.
  • It is also working to increase compensation for farmers affected by the epidemic.

The avian flu epidemic has taken on a new dimension in recent days in France. In the space of a week, the number of contaminated homes has tripled according to the results of the Ministry of Agriculture released this Sunday. In a press release, the authorities specify that 48 of the 61 confirmed outbreaks are located in the Landes department, a territory traditionally producing foie gras.

The perimeter within which the prefects can order preventive slaughter around confirmed outbreaks has been extended. It now concerns more than 110 municipalities in the Landes (and 15 municipalities in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques). The situation is increasingly worrying on the spot, as explained by Marie-Hélène Cazaubon, president of the Chamber of Agriculture, and herself a breeder of fatty ducks in Montsoué.

What is the situation in the department at the start of the year?

She is very disturbing! There are new homes all over the place. There, we are in the middle of the crisis. It's urgent! We have to be able to break the circulation of viruses much faster otherwise ...

How to explain the explosion in the number of cases?

In the beginning, we had to deal with four primary outbreaks with a virus that comes from wildlife. These homes were more isolated. There, the virus arrived in a much denser farming area (Chalosse) with a multitude of small farms. It is in the heart and spreads very quickly.

Forty new avian influenza outbreaks confirmed on Sunday https://t.co/H5PLWgZgPL

- 20 Minutes (@ 20Minutes) January 3, 2021

What to do to stop its circulation?

The absolute urgency is to clean up the farms, notably with preventive felling. But the problem is precisely there, we are not going fast enough! We have to get moving. We must stop the spread of the virus faster. It's urgent. For that, we need more human resources! We lack arms. We need additional resources from the state. The second emergency is compensation for farmers. We are working on their revaluation. Here too, we must go faster.

Isn't this the flip side of the exemptions which allow breeders to leave their animals outside?

The demand exists because not everyone has the capacity to shelter their animals. It is used a lot, I use it myself but I wish I hadn't done it when I see the situation today. I confess that for my part, I will not use it again next year. It will be one less worry when the migratory birds pass through, bringing the virus back to us in winter. Moreover, I think that this new epidemic will call into question part of our functioning.

For most breeders, the solution is the vaccine?

Today, I have no position on this issue. But in any case at time T, there is no effective one. And then the vaccine can also mask a sometimes bad health situation. I think that in the medium term, we must especially think about a building plan to be able to shelter our animals in winter.