SENDAI – The chicken cull sparked by the nation’s latest bird flu outbreaks fell short of the originally planned goal of 300,000 Sunday as authorities in Miyagi and Chiba prefectures opted to settle for roughly 209,000 and 62,000 chickens, respectively.
The two prefectures north of Tokyo were spurred into action by outbreaks of the highly pathogenic H5 strain of bird flu at local poultry farms.
Agricultural officials in Chiba finished their cull on Saturday.
The Miyagi Prefectural Government will bury the carcasses underground and disinfect the poultry houses, officials said. It initially planned to kill 220,000 chickens but later reduced it by about 11,000.
The two culls began Friday, with help from Self-Defense Forces personnel.
Since November, the H5 virus has devastated poultry farms in Niigata, Aomori and Miyazaki prefectures as well as Hokkaido.
According to the Miyagi Prefectural Government, a total of 96 chickens were found dead over a three-day period through Thursday at a poultry farm in Kurihara. Six tested positive for bird flu in a preliminary screening.
In Chiba, 118 chickens were found dead over the same three-day period at a farm in Asahi and 10 tested positive in a preliminary test.
Subsequent generic exams detected the highly virulent H5N6 strain of avian influenza in both cases.