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April 17, 2006

US poultry industry already in trouble

Via delawareonline.com: Industry fears even one bird flu case. It's mostly about the efforts of one Delaware poultry farmer to protect his chickens, but I've bolded the real news, near the end of the story:

Economists said consumer reaction will vary depending on severity of the avian flu and where it is found: an isolated forest far away from commercial flocks or inside the heart of a poultry-growing region like Delmarva.

In a worst-case scenario, discovery of the highly dangerous H5N1 form of the virus would almost certainly result in an immediate ban on exports by various nations, dragging down already lagging consumption abroad.

The industry is expected to lose more than $1 billion in sales this year compared with last year because of declining exports and poultry prices associated with avian flu, said Paul Aho, a poultry economist and consultant based in Storrs, Conn. That doesn't even take into consideration what would happen to the industry if bird flu is found in the United States.

"The situation is bad now, the only thing worse than we have now is if the hot bird flu got into the U.S.," said Aho. "If the bird flu should come to the United States, there may be some consumers that might eat less chicken even though there is no reason to eat less chicken."

Posted by dymaxion at April 17, 2006 10:37 PM

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