The bird flu spreading through southern France is highly contagious for fowl but poses no health risk to humans
The bird flu spreading through southern France is highly contagious for fowl but poses no health risk to humans AFP / GAIZKA IROZ

With seven farms across southwest Victoria being affected by the avian flu epidemic, the authorities said over a million birds would be put to death to stop the spread of the deadly virus.

This dramatic move is being taken because hundreds of thousands of farmed birds have already been afflicted by the virus, reported.

Six egg farms and one duck farm were affected by the H7N3 and H7N9 strains of avian flu, and around 1 million chickens, or 5% of Australia's laying hens, will be put down to stop the disease from spreading.

Australia implemented stringent biosecurity measures in response to the ninth outbreak of highly dangerous avian influenza in May. Authorities adopted strict measures to control the virus, including quarantining two Victorian farms.

Despite the avian influenza epidemic hitting farms in Victoria, no countrywide shortages of eggs or chicken meat have been recorded in Australia. Although some supermarkets, such as Coles, have placed purchase limitations in place as a safety precaution, there is still enough supply to fulfill demand across the country.

The latest bird flu outbreak has killed more animals than the statewide outbreak in Victoria in 2020, which included emus, turkeys, and chickens.

Approximately 25% of Victoria's egg supply is produced in the Golden Plains Shire, one of the state's major egg and chicken meat-producing districts, where the present epidemic is mostly focused.

A control zone, which includes six of the seven farms, found to have the H7N3 strain of avian influenza, runs around 100 kilometers from west to east in the area.

According to Greg Parkinson, CEO of the Australian Duck Meat Association, the impacted duck farm near Meredith accounted for around 2% of the country's commercial duck population. He made it clear that restaurants, not supermarkets, were the farm's main customers for duck meat.

"The requirements in the controlled areas, especially the restricted areas, are to prevent onward movement of the virus either by vehicles, people, or other means. Meredith has consistently been detecting [bird flu]. If this virus was allowed to spread onward it would be devastating for the rest of the poultry industry in Victoria and perhaps onward through Australia."

"The right thing to do is to stop the infected premises from being any further risk, and that's the action that is taken through the humane destruction and disposal and the onward cleansing and disinfection of the farms," he added.