Photo: Amir Cohen
Teams at work in southern kibbutz
Photo: Amir Cohen

Officials: 400,000 chickens to be culled

Fighting bird flu: About 70,000 birds culled at two southern kibbutzim on Saturday; the killing of more than 300,000 chickens by poison to get under way at two more communities

Fighting bird flu: Agriculture Ministry officials are estimating that the culling of 400,000 to 500,000 chickens at the four southern communities where bird flu was discovered will end by Sunday evening.


Footage: Reuters


At a press conference held by the Agriculture Ministry Saturday night, officials said the existence of bird flu in Israel has been confirmed.


Officials have yet to identify the bird flu infection's source, but suspect that a slaughterhouse in the southern town of Kiryat Malachi used by several affected communities may be the culprit. Officials have ordered the slaughterhouse be thoroughly disinfected twice. The vehicles used to transport the chickens were also disinfected.


"If the slaughter house is the source for the spread of the disease, we closed the circle," one official said.


The killing of about 70,000 birds at two kibbutzim, Ein HaShlosha and Holit, was completed by Saturday evening, officials said. The two other communities where the bird flu strain was found at are kibbutz Nachshon and the community of Sde Moshe.


Meanwhile, the culling of chickens at a three-kilometer (about 2 miles) radius of the above communities will get under way Sunday.


Tens of thousands of birds killed (Photo: Amir Cohen)


Officials at Ein HaShlosha and Holit began Saturday morning the process of mass killings of chickens through the use of poison in their drinking water. Agriculture Ministry officials arrived at the communities, dug giant pits used to bury the dead birds, and began poisoning them.


The digging of the pits included the introduction of extra measures, namely thick nylon sheets and lime, to ensure the poison does not seep into the ground. The work is being undertaken by teams of experts who are using all-terrain vehicles.


Notably, some of the chickens died after infecting the deadly bird flu strain, but most of them were poisoned to death.


Meanwhile, about 50 Border Guard officers have been tasked with an unusual mission, namely maintaining a "sterile zone" around the areas affected by the bird flue. Overall, 10 teams were deployed around the communities in question as well as nearby kibbutzim in the south. Earlier, officials imposed quarantines on affected zones.


Anat Barshkovsky contributed to the story


פרסום ראשון: 03.18.06, 20:40
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