Dutch to cull 200,000 chickens after second case of bird flu detected

FILE PHOTO: Free range chickens are kept indoors in a free range poultry farm in Ruurlo, the Netherlands, August 23, 2005. REUTERS/Michael Kooren

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The Dutch Ministry of Agriculture on Thursday ordered the culling of 200,000 chickens after highly pathogenic bird flu was found at a farm in the eastern town of Puiflijk.

The cull, which includes birds at a second farm within a 1km radius, is the second in the country within a month after the H5N8 disease was first found in wild fowl.

Risk to humans from the disease is considered low, but the World Health Organization says it has been spreading among migratory birds that then transmit it to domestic poultry.

Britain on Monday ordered a cull of 13,000 birds at a farm in Frodsham, Cheshire, after detecting cases there..

Dutch poultry farmers have been ordered to keep birds inside until further notice to prevent transmission.

The farm at the centre of Thursday’s cull in Puiflijk is within 3 km of the first case, 30 km from the German border near Nijmegen. Other farms nearby are being tested for the disease, while transportation of birds is banned in a 10 km radius.

Poultry is a 1.6 billion euro ($1.9 billion) industry in the Netherlands, Europe’s largest exporter of chicken meat and eggs, employing 10,000 people on 2,000 farms.

Reporting by Toby Sterling; Editing by David Goodman