Tokyo (AFP) Jan 26, 2011
Japan began slaughtering thousands of chickens on Wednesday in the country's largest poultry farming area to fight an outbreak of bird flu, a local official said.
The culling of 8,600 chickens in Kagoshima prefecture, on southwestern Kyushu island, followed two separate outbreaks in the adjacent prefecture of Miyazaki, where a total of 420,000 birds have been slaughtered.
It was Japan's third bird flu outbreak at a poultry farm this year, and authorities and farmers worry the disease may spread further.
Local authorities have banned any movement of 5.22 million chickens and eggs kept in the area within 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) from the outbreak point in Kagoshima prefecture, authorities said.
At the Kagoshima farm, 198 chickens were found dead in one of the farm's four poultry houses in the week to Tuesday, Jiji Press said.
Kagoshima is one of Japan's major poultry farming prefectures and produced the country's largest amount of chicken meat in 2009, Jiji said.
In Miyazaki, another major farming region some 900 kilometres southwest of Tokyo, a foot-and-mouth outbreak last year forced the slaughter of almost 300,000 farm animals.
earlier related report
"According to our calculations we could lift (the ban) after February 10th - 15th," for poultry and by the end of March for pork, said Russia's deputy chief of veterinary services Nikolai Vlassov, in remarks cited by RIA Novosti.
Germany's dioxin poisoning scandal began earlier this month with reports that a north German firm may have supplied fatty acids only meant for industrial uses to makers of animal feed late last year. The feed was then widely distributed.
Moscow announced in early January it had reinforced checks on meat coming from Germany and other European countries.
On Monday, European Union health commissioner John Dalli warned that new bloc-wide measures were needed to prevent a repeat of the farm produce poisoning scare.
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