Germany orders 29,000 chickens culled after bird flu found on farm

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FILE PHOTO: Free-range chicken are seen on a field outside Munich

HAMBURG (Reuters) - About 29,000 chickens will be slaughtered in Germany after bird flu was found on another poultry farm, authorities said on Thursday.

Type H5N8 bird flu was confirmed in a farm in the eastern area of Mecklenburgische Seenplatte, the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern state government said.

The 29,000 chickens are now being slaughtered and a 10-kilometre observation area is being set up covering 482 nearby farms with about 644,000 poultry, the Mecklenburgische Seenplatte local government authority added.

A series of outbreaks of bird flu have been reported in Europe in recent weeks, with wild birds suspected to be spreading the illness.

The disease has been found in countries including France, the Netherlands, Germany, Britain, Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Sweden and Poland, after severely hitting Russia, Kazakhstan and Israel.

Some 11 other farms in Germany have suffered outbreaks.

About 10,500 turkeys were slaughtered after H5N8 was found at a farm in northern England, British authorities said on Nov. 29.

Risk to humans from the disease is considered low, but past outbreaks among farm birds have needed extensive slaughtering programmes to contain.

(Reporting by Michael Hogan, editing by Mark Potter)