Spread of avian flu causing farmers to destroy hundreds of thousands of poultry to combat the disease.
In an effort to combat the spread of avian flu among their flocks, farmers in the Netherlands announced on Saturday they had slaughtered 190,000 ducks on six farms in the country, according to a report in The Guardian.
This is the first mass slaughter in the Netherlands, but Denmark, Finland Germany and Sweden have already announced similar actions in their own countries in the past few weeks. Outbreaks of the disease, particularly the highly-contagious H5N8 strain, are causing the massive losses of chickens, ducks and turkeys across the continent.
Officials from the Dutch government did not specifically identify the strain involved in this outbreak, first discovered at a poultry farm in the village of Biddinghuizen, located some 43 miles east of Amsterdam.
The slaughter involved four other farms owned by the same company and an additional farm in close proximity to the farm where the original contamination was found.
Dutch officials announced a ban on transporting poultry products outside of a 10 kilometer radius of the site, and said they were inspecting all sites within three kilometers also.
The Netherlands is the world’s second largest agricultural exporter, with millions of farm animals on individual farms, and that density makes the animals more susceptible to outbreaks.
Meanwhile, Time.com reports that authorities in Germany have announced the slaughter of 16,000 turkeys and 92,000 chickens after an outbreak of H5N8 at three poultry plants in northern Germany.
The article continued to say that the virus has been detected at four German farms, and in wild birds in 12 of the 16 German states.
Officials warn the outbreaks will likely spread as the wild birds migrate south over the next several weeks. The virus has never been detected in humans, but scientists suspect wild birds are the catalyst for spreading the virus to poultry across many countries.
Officials say it is just a matter of time before an outbreak occurs in North America, and are warning poultry farmers in Canada and the United States to be aware and diligent in checking for infected birds.