PARIS – The Directorate General of Food of the Ministry of Agriculture in France ordered a massive cull of all free-range ducks and geese in three regions affected by highly pathogenic H5N8 avian influenza.

The Ministry said culls will occur in Gers, Landes and the Haute-Pyrenees, leading fois gras producing regions, beginning Jan. 5 and will conclude by Jan. 20.

“Some livestock farms will not be subject to this obligation if they meet the regulatory biosecurity requirements…” in addition to confining birds and controlling the full production cycle, the agency said in a notice on its website. “This depopulation operation will be followed by cleaning and disinfection of buildings and roads.”

The government will finance the culls, and any losses may be compensated based on conditions that will be determined once the situation has stabilized, the agency said. So far, France has confirmed 89 H5N8 outbreaks.