Touch the Soil News #581
The Avian Influenza is a disease that infects hens that lay eggs. The Avian Influenza is a virus that causes high mortality rates in hens. The only way to stop it is to cull (destroy) the entire flock of hens in which an infected hen is found. Over the last couple of months, the nation of South Korea has been hit hard with Avian Influenza. As of recent, South Korea has had to cull about 20.5 million of its 80 million laying hens.
The dramatic decline in egg production is hitting the nation hard. What is spooky about the whole Avian Influenza is that there are major outbreaks in Europe, China, India and Japan currently under way – though not on the scale of South Korea at present.
Last week, there were eggs selling in the U.S. at less than $1 per dozen in some areas. With the shortage of eggs in South Korea, a dozen eggs is about $2.34 per dozen. The government of South Korea, a nation of 51 million people, is lifting import tariffs on eggs and egg products. Prior to the Avian Influenza outbreak, tariffs on eggs and egg products coming into South Korea ranged from 8 percent to 30 percent.
The fact that 1/4 of a nation’s egg supply can evaporate over the course of 60 days due to Avian Influenza is frightening. One wonders how much of the Avian Influenza problem stems from industrial-size egg farms using only one breed of chicken? What is the long-term effect of eliminating genetic diversity in egg-laying hens?
Following is a video clip from South Korea on the problem: