TURKEY may be off the table for many Cork families this Christmas as poultry farmers struggle in the fight against bird flu.
Gerard O’Leary from O’Leary’s Poultry in Macroom said that the price of keeping the birds indoors could potentially spell the end for some in the industry.
His worries come three days after an emergency announcement by Agriculture Minister Charlie McConologue who requested that all poultry be brought indoors as long as the strain poses a threat.
The latest strain of avian flu has already taken the lives of hundreds of millions of birds globally.
Gerard said that the costs to keep birds inside is significantly higher and will impact everyone in the avian business.
“This year alone the cost of raising poultry has gone through the roof,” he said.
He said the threat to poultry businesses is a huge concern.
“So many birds who were already on the verge of extinction are now dead. If there is a case, then all your birds are slaughtered. There were cases in the north of people who had poultry that had their businesses go silent for the first time in 50 or 60 years. If there is a case found on your land, there will be restrictions on movements. If you have to keep the birds inside then that’s another hidden cost.” The virus has not yet mutated to pose a notable threat to humans. Nonetheless, many poultry farmers are seeing their livelihoods affected as restrictions remain in place for the foreseeable future.