04 Mar 2024

France starts vaccination plan against avian flu in ducks

The duck vaccination plan started in October 2023 and will cost France US$105 million. This measure scares France's main customers, especially lovers of the famous foie gras.

The duck vaccination plan started in October 2023 and will cost France US$105 million. This measure scares France's main customers, especially lovers of the famous foie gras.

  • Outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza caused the loss of more than 200 million birds since the end of 2021.
  • This situation forced different countries to take extreme measures and France started with the vaccination of millions of ducks to curb the disease.
  • France has one of the most developed duck industries and is known worldwide for foie gras, a gastronomic dish made from the bird's livers.

Duck vaccination

  • The vaccination is focused on ducks because they are very sensitive to the virus and excrete it into the environment before showing symptoms, favoring its spread.
  • The vaccines used in the french duck industry have already been tested in different European Union countries, but France was the first nation to put them on the market for widespread commercial use.
  • The duck vaccination plan began last October and will cost France 100 million euros (US$105 million), 85% of which will be subsidized by the government.
  • About 64 million french ducks, which were bred for both meat and foie gras, will be immunized with two injections by summer 2024 (two doses per individual), to achieve mass immunity by the end of the year.

The plan structured by France generated nervousness and concern among the country's trading partners, because it could mask the circulation of the disease and run the risk of importers acquiring infected or contaminated meat. The reaction of trading partners would influence poultry producers to use the vaccines. This is also related to the U.S. decision to restrict french poultry imports from October 2023 and Canada and Japan could take the same decision. Japan is expected to suspend imports from France when vaccination begins.

French poultry farming

Sources: Available upon request.

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