Chicken Supply in South Africa at Risk due to Avian Influenza Outbreak

According to a report by IOL, Dr Greg Cilliers, a veterinarian and executive board member of the World Veterinary Poultry Association, has warned that there will be a shortage of chicken meat in South Africa in the coming weeks due to a scarcity of broiler chicks.

The avian influenza outbreak, HPAI H7, has had a devastating impact, affecting all adult birds in Gauteng and leading to an egg shortage that consumers are currently experiencing at retailers. Cilliers explained that the spread of the virus seems to be slowing down, but this is only because there are no more birds left to be infected.

The recovery process will depend on the availability of a vaccine, but it will take a considerable amount of time for the entire supply chain to return to normal.

Cilliers emphasized the need for the government to finalize the guidelines for emergency registration of the H7 vaccine and to implement a realistic monitoring protocol for vaccinated flocks. The industry is currently facing significant challenges, including the high cost of production and load shedding, which makes it more susceptible to cheaper imports.

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