The French government is under increasing pressure to provide more compensation to poultry farmers affected by the collapse in sales due to the bird flu outbreak. Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin is expected in an affected region near the Swiss frontier today.
France has also ordered the preventive vaccination of thousands of ducks, initially in the country’s coastal departments. The policy which is also to be applied in the Netherlands, is being discussed at the European Union’s standing committee.
“The commission will be authorizing the proposals” says EU spokesman Philip Tod, “It will issue technical details on how the plan will be implemented”.
At France’s largest wholesale market at Rungis near Paris traders are getting desperate. They say they are losing millions of euros.
Jean Michel Lemetayer of the poultry producers association insists that more official reassurances are needed to remind consumers that French products are safe and of high quality. In France poultry now has to be kept indoors to avoid the risk of contamination by migrating wild birds. But there have been no new bird flu cases in France since last week.