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H5N8

France launches mass duck cull to stem bird flu spread

PARIS: Authorities in southwest France began a cull of hundreds of thousands of ducks Thursday as the government scrambles to contain an outbreak of a virulent strain of bird flu sweeping Europe. The farm birds in France's foie gras heartland are to be slaughtered to stem the spread of the highly pathogenic H5N8 virus. Several culls have already taken place since December, dealing a blow to producers of foie gras -- a controversial delicacy made from the livers of ducks and geese after force-feeding -- in the run-up to…