Agricultural organizations in four departments of the Southwest are calling for a vaccination campaign against avian flu this summer to guarantee the “survival” of poultry and duck farms in the region, where the virus is circulating again. In a joint press release, the chambers of agriculture of Gers, Landes, Hautes-Pyrénées, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, the foie gras interprofession (Cifog) and the interregional association of lean poultry in New Aquitaine (Airvol) ask the government for a “deployment” of the vaccine “in the heart of summer”.

The latter also ask for contributions from the State and communities for the management of this vaccination, as well as a “depopulation of all waterfowl” within a radius of three kilometers around the breeding farms. “The challenge now is indeed the survival of the poultry and waterfowl sectors in the South-West, their thousands of jobs, their history, their heritage which are on a thread, ready to break”, alert these organizations.

After several years of successive crises caused by avian flu, the virus has been circulating again since the beginning of May in the region, with 81 contaminated farms, more than half of them in the Gers, according to the latest count from the authorities. Two vaccines tested in France have already proven to be “very effective” on ducks bred for foie gras, the health security agency (Anses) reported last week, paving the way for a national vaccination campaign. .

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, this could take place “as early as the fall of 2023”, the vaccination strategy to be finalized in June. During the previous epizootic in 2022/2023, six million poultry were slaughtered in France according to the ministry, after 22 million in 2021/2022.