Producers of foie gras in France are calling for ducks to be culled in their thousands over fears a strain of bird flu will rage through the country.
There are more than a hundred outbreaks of the highly pathogenic H5N8 virus across the country since the virus was first reported last month, The Guardian reports.
Around 350,000 ducks have already been slaughtered since Christmas Eve. A further 400,000 are set to be killed, France’s chief veterinary officer claimed.
In The Guardian report, one foie-gras producer described the situation as being ‘out of control’. Another claimed the virus was ‘very very contagious’.
Bird flu in the UK
Data from the NHS states no humans have been infected by the H5N8 strain of bird flu in the UK. Reports indicate this is also the case in France. However, in rare cases, the strain ‘can affect humans‘.
Thousands of turkeys were culled last year in the UK following an outbreak of the same virus strain.
Bird keepers were warned to report suspected disease. Despite this, a number of outbreaks were found across the country.
Foie gras production and ban
The gruesome practice of making the pate from ducks’ livers involves ‘shoving’ metal pipes down their throats.
Following animal welfare concerns, foie gras has been banned in various parts of the world.
Countries that have put a ban in place include Belgium, Poland, Turkey, Australia, and India. It is also illegal in parts of the US including California and New York.
Production is illegal in the UK but it can still be imported from other countries.