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Kill All Birds: China’s Avian Flu Prevention Measures Go Extreme

It’s humans vs. birds in China. The order has been sent: kill all birds. A war has been declared against anything with two wings and a beak to inhibit the spread of avian flu.

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The message has been sent through China: kill all birds. At the height of a new outbreak of avian flu, China has declared war on anything with two wings and a beak. Pigeons are being removed from some cities by people with nets, poultry markets are being cleared out by Hazmat suit wearing flu fighters, and some duck and chicken farms are killing off their flocks. This purge has now covered the country, and hundreds of thousands — perhaps millions — of birds have been culled.

A domino effect was started in Shanghai, when officials gave orders that resulted in over 100,000 birds being killed. Similar action was then taken by Nanjing and Hangzhou, and now many more cities across the country have followed suit. It seems as if no government official wants to be known as the one who allowed bird flu to continue spreading, so, to be on the safe side, they are ordering the mass slaughter of all live poultry under their dominion.

Though I must add that it seems as if there may be some kind of strange competition between major municipalities to outdo, or at least match, each other in the amount of birds they slaughter in the name of combating avian flu. Shanghai culled 100,000 birds, so Guangzhou will cull 100,000 . . . You can almost hear the kudos from the central government as cities compete for top bird flu fighting honors — as the corpses pile up higher.

From the South China Morning Post:

Vice-Mayor Su Zequn [in Guangzhou] said more than 100,000 birds would be destroyed to prevent the virus from spreading. ‘We would rather kill 10,000 ducks wrongfully than miss even one [that has the virus],’ Mr. Su said.

The below video is of a duck farm in Yamiao, Fujian province disposing of thousands of ducklings in an attempt to curb the spread of bird flu. Apparently, the way to do this is to dump them into a garbage pit.

I don’t know where the below video was shot, but it came with a caption that said “Authorities order all live birds to be dead to prevent bird flu from spreading.”

A battle rages on in China, it’s humans vs. birds.

Duck farmer in Zhejiang province (unrelated to article).

Duck farmer in Zhejiang province (unrelated to article).


Filed under: China, Epidemics

About the Author:

I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. I’ve been traveling the world since 1999, through 90 countries. I am the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China and have written for The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3691 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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VBJ is currently in: Trenton, Maine

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  • John April 14, 2013, 7:10 am

    strange…. kill the birds one butcher knife at a time…

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    • VagabondJourney April 14, 2013, 7:31 am

      Yeah, that was incredibly weird. Almost seemed a little set up. Hope they’re not using that method regularly, or else they have a lot of work a head . . . I mean, ahead 🙂

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