Bird Flu Causes Turkey Shortage Ahead of the Christmas Season

Feature Image courtesy of BBC
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The global disruption of the turkey supply chain have seen drastic price hikes forcing many to forego the bird this year.

With Christmas fast approaching, turkey farmers in the US and UK are grappling with the effects of the latest avian influenza that has been wiping out their flocks, killing birds practically overnight, and forcing hundreds of thousands more to be euthanized to prevent further infection.

The rampant spread of the virus has already eliminated more than 6 million turkeys in the US alone, about 3 percent of the nation’s total turkey production, according to the U.S. Agriculture Department. It is leaving farmers short of their usual offerings and pushing up prices for those that remain, forcing consumers already walloped by inflation to pay an additional 20 percent or more per pound for Thanksgiving turkeys last month compared with prices last year, according to several estimates.

Thanksgiving 2022: As food costs continue to rise, will there also be a turkey  shortage this year? -
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Farmers in the UK said they have been “living on a knife edge” for fear of their birds being infected and culled, and those who have made it through to December with their flocks intact face additional hurdles if they have not already found buyers. It comes after the British Poultry Council warned of a “big, big shortage” of British free-range turkeys this year.

Fears over bird flu and the cost of living crisis could impact free-range turkey sales, farmers have warned, as growing numbers turn to supermarkets for frozen birds this Christmas.

After months of worry for their flocks, and rehousing their birds indoors since last month, turkey farmers are facing significant pressure this holiday season after facing terrible losses of their birds and livelihoods.

Turkey shortage ahead of Christmas fuelled by avian flu: BC Poultry  Association - Agassiz Harrison Observer
Image Credit: Agassiz Harrison Observer

Naturally, this affects the supply of exported turkeys to regions like ours, which is why many hotels in Malaysia are not offering turkey in their Christmas menus this year. Instead, most places having Christmas themed buffets are presenting lamb, beef, chicken, and salmon. So, if you’re planning of stuffing your usual turkey for the holidays, you will definitely need a change of plan this year.

Source: The Guardian

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