In Iraq, a new epidemic -- bird flu -- decimates chicken coops

An outbreak ofbird flu has killed tens of thousands of hens in a rural province north of Iraq’s capital, decimating livelihoods overnight as authorities scramble to contain its spread. Near the town of Samarra, about 100 kilometres (60 miles) north of Baghdad, Haytham al-Hamash’s coops have become graveyards. Masked workers step around a few live hens to pick out the dead birds lying on their sides, tossing them into the back of a truck with a loud thud. “Right now, chickens are dying and we can’t do anything for them,” Hamash told AFP. His coops have been surrounded by makeshift trenches to k…

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