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The dark case of avian flu

In November 2015, in Perpignan, nearly 300,000 ducks were slaughtered. In January 2016, in Tarbes, 500,000 chickens were killed. If the list is long, only one person is blamed : the avian flu or H5N1 virus.


Recently, the news went around the newspapers : France will sacrifice 600,000 ducks in the Landes region to eradicate avian flu. The country was once again forced to take a radical step to put an end to the avian influenza epidemic detected early in the winter, which has already affected more than 300 farms in the southwest. But France is not the only country to face the epidemic and unprecedented slaughter…

At the beginning of January 2017, the World Health Organization (WHO) launched the state of alert against the rapid spread of avian influenza, with cases reported in nearly 40 countries since September 2016. Asked all countries to monitor closely the outbreaks of avian influenza in poultry but also in humans. Usually, the avian influenza virus does not infect men. However, two subtypes of the virus, H5N1 and H7N9, have already infected a large number of people in Asia, Africa, the Pacific, the Middle East and several parts of Europe. In some cases, avian influenza can cause serious complications or even death. Thus, the H7N9 virus circulating in China since 2013, has made more than a thousand patients, With a mortality of 38.5% ! Other outbreaks of avian influenza have been detected in countries as far apart as Chile, Croatia, Japan and Taiwan.


But it is above all for the animals that the situation is more than worrying. Here is a list, not exhaustive, of slaughterings that have taken place since 2016 in France :

  • Perpignan: November 2015 – 300,000 ducks;
  • Tarbes: January 2016 – 500,000 chickens;
  • Tarn: December 2016: 18,000 ducks;
  • Lot-et-Garonne: December 2016: 6,000 ducks;
  • Deux-Sèvres: February 2017: 6,000 ducks;
  • Landes: March 2017: 600,000 ducks;

But before we resolve the problem, we still have to know what we are fighting against… Is bird flu really the only one responsible for this scourge ? Several hypotheses are put forward :

  • Is not the proliferation of avian influenza more likely to be the result of deplorable living conditions in large farms 80% are chickens raised in France live for years of intensive breeding. Thus, nearly 40,000 individuals (17 to 22 chickens per m² !) Can live on each other. All the more so because the litter is not changed and the excreta abound… When it is known that the avian influenza virus is transmitted from one bird to another through excreta, is it not an absurdity ?


  • The pharmaceutical industry too, seems to find its way. Thus, France has already reserved 200 million protective masks, 13.8 million treatments with Oseltamivir (Tamiflu), 2 million doses of a vaccine against infection and 40 million doses as soon as the mutation Of the virus would be known…

  • In Europe, such epidemics are generally repaid at a higher price than the current market. If only one animal is tested positive for the virus, all others are sacrificed. Would some livestock operations ensure that the epidemic is diagnosed when the market price of poultry is declining… One has the right to ask the question, especially since this virus is invisible and transportable ! Does the price of poultry drop before the arrival of the virus, afterwards, during ? Do we really have a traceability of this virus, how is it created ? How does it spread ? How does it fit into the often closed breeding rooms ? All this is perhaps the reality but all this seems quite surprising anyway, you will agree ! For information, since the end of February, the poultry lost 60 % of its price !

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