Netherlands to cull over 102,000 chickens to prevent bird flu

The European continent is experiencing a serious outbreak of bird flu. It is spreading rapidly in many European countries. Recently in the Netherlands, a city named Kiel-Windeweer reported a strain of extremely infectious and dangerous strain of bird flu. As a preventive measure, the Dutch Government has decided to cull over 102,000 chickens, which will prevent the spread of this dangerous strain throughout the country, and throughout the continent.  In Kiel-Windeweer, around fifteen cases of bird flu are caused by the avian flu strain. Throughout the year, the country has witnessed dozens of such cases. But such a high number of cases has put the government in an altered state. Bird flu has been causing chaos in the country as last year, the country reported several outbreaks of bird flu. Previously, similar steps were taken to prevent the outbreak of bird flu. Millions of chickens and ducks were culled last year as a part of the preventive measures. The poultry industry which was facing huge losses due to the diseases suggested that only a vaccine can be successful to prevent the diseases and save the poultry industry in the Netherlands.  In September 2022, several countries across the European continent reported multiple cases of bird flu, which alarmed the European commission. The Netherlands was the worst-hit country during this outbreak. Until now, over 3.7 million chickens, ducks, and turkeys have been culled by the Dutch government to prevent the spread of avian flu. This has marked this outbreak as the most extreme outbreak that has ever been recorded. Along with the Netherlands, France is also one of the worst-hit countries in this outbreak. As announced by the French government, so far around 16 million ducks and other birds have been culled as the country’s preventive measures against the avian flu. At the start of the year, the Dutch environment minister, Henk Staghouwer said that the avian flu outbreak has now become unavoidable as almost 19% of the country is covered with water. Water is one of the primary sources of spreading the avian flu or the bird flu. As 19% of the country is covered with water, it is almost impossible to keep the birds away from accessing these areas. Hence, the virus is spreading rapidly in the country.  Since October 2021, the Netherlands has reported around 66 outbreaks of bird flu. But within just 10 weeks, the number of outbreaks has jumped from 66 to 77, recording around 11 new cases of outbreaks. Because of such rapidly spread bird flu outbreaks and the protests of farmers against steps taken to cut down the nitrogen compound emissions, Henk Staghouwer resigned from his post stating that he is not the right person to handle the situation.  Dr. Nancy Beerens, the bird flu expert at Wageningen Bio-veterinary Research, stated that earlier, such outbreaks were only seen during winter, but now the virus outbreaks are being reported throughout the year. She added further that the virus is brought by the wild birds which visit the Netherlands during Winter. The virus carried by these birds is then transmitted to the poultry birds such as chickens, ducks, and turkeys through the water sources. Hence, the government has suggested keeping the birds away from these natural water sources.