More than 24 million chickens and turkeys have been killed in the United States as poultry farmers desperately try to stop an avian influenza epidemic crushing the industry.
The price of chicken meat has almost doubled from a year ago in the US and the cost of eggs is at an all-time record high, up from $1.40 (£1.07) a dozen, 12 months earlier, to more than $3 (£2.30).
With fears growing that the outbreak could infect birds across the globe, an Australian poultry expert said producers are doing all they can to fend off the avian influenza crisis.
Australian Chicken Meat Federation executive director Vivien Kite said the highly pathogenic virus in chickens and turkeys usually results in high levels of disease, illness and mortality
“This is why the destruction of the entire flock affected is the course of action required to reduce spread of the disease to other flocks,” Dr Kite said.
“We have had occasional avian influenza outbreaks in Australian poultry flocks in the past, but these have all been caused by infections with distinct, Australian lineage strains of the virus, never by overseas exotic strains.”