Bird Flu Cost the US $3.3 Billion and Worse Could Be Coming
(Worthy News) – It’s been almost a month since a case of avian influenza was detected in poultry in the central United States. So it might seem that the epidemic—which over several months caused the destruction of 49.5 million chickens and turkeys—can safely be considered over.
But in fact, it may have only taken a break. And if it returns, as some experts predict it will, what one government official calls “the largest animal-health emergency in this country’s history” may turn out to be just an opening act. At risk, the next time, will be not just the egg and turkey farms of the Midwest, but the billions of birds being raised in the poultry-producing centers on the east and west coasts—effectively, most of the poultry economy of the United States.
The cost of those lost birds, according to economist Thomas Elam of the Indiana-based consulting group FarmEcon, was $1.57 billion—but the further costs to businesses that support farms, to egg and poultry wholesalers, and to food service firms, pushed the loss to $3.3 billion. In addition, Clifford said, the US Department of Agriculture committed $500 million to emergency efforts to block the disease, and paid out $190 million to farmers whose birds were destroyed. [ Source ]