German cull ordered after H5N8 bird flu confirmed
German authorities on Tuesday ordered the cull of thousands of farm animals after a bird flu outbreak was confirmed as the highly pathogenic H5N8 strain.
The precautionary move came after the discovery at a poultry farm in a rural region of Lower Saxony state.
Regional agricultural minister Christian Meyer said that 19,000 animals at the site and another 12,000 turkeys at a neighbouring farm would be slaughtered.
He said the strain detected in the Cloppenburg district was the same as that found at another farm in November in Schleswig-Holstein state.
Meyer expressed concern that the virus could spread quickly.
"Cloppenburg is a traditional heartland of the poultry industry," he said.
The district had already imposed a three-day ban on all poultry transports to thwart the potential spread of H5N8.
Some strains of avian influenza are fatal for birds, and pose a health threat to humans, who can fall sick after handling infected poultry.
© 2014 AFP