News Fear Of Bird Flu May Cause Decrease In Poultry Production

Fear Of Bird Flu May Cause Decrease In Poultry Production

Fear Of Bird Flu May Cause Decrease In Poultry Production
May 30, 2006 |

Reduced consumption of poultry by foreign countries and an oversupply in the United States is likely to cause a drop in income for Alabama producers this year, according to Alabama Farmers Federation Poultry Director Guy Hall. America’s poultry industry generates about $29 billion annually. Fourteen percent of the poultry produced in the United States is shipped to foreign markets. In recent months, Russia and other foreign countries have decreased imports of American poultry because of reduced consumption from fear of bird flu and negative media coverage, Hall said.”The industry may use several strategies to reduce the amount of poultry on a flooded meat market,” Hall said. “Companies may sell broiler breeder flocks early and reduce the number of eggs sent to hatcheries. This will, in turn, reduce the total number of chicks being placed and allow more days between flocks for producers.”Hall said integrators also might reduce the selling weights of chickens to cut the amount of poultry on the market.
“Fewer flocks placed per house, per year and fewer pounds produced per house will have a direct impact on the income of producers,” he said.In late April, Montgomery-based Sylvest Farms filed a petition for relief and reorganization under Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Sylvest officials blamed the “unforeseen and prolonged impacts of bird flu fears” and “reduced export demand” for putting the company in a financial crisis. Sylvest Farms also announced it wants to sell its assets to an Illinois-based poultry company. Chapter 11 allows corporations to reorganize and stay in business. Hall said it’s important to remember that according to recent figures released by the World Health Organization there have been 113 confirmed deaths due to avian influenza since 2003.”Compare that to traffic fatalities that occur in the United States every day, an average of 117, and you can see how much some of the media has blown this out of proportion,” he said.
“Also, avian influenza is not transmitted through cooked food. To date, no evidence indicates that anyone has become infected following the consumption of properly cooked poultry or poultry products.”

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