Bird Flu Alarm

2005-11-28-Bird flu fears cost French industry 100 mln euros

Understanding Avian Influenza

2005-11-28-Bird flu fears cost French industry 100 mln euros

PARIS, Nov 28 (Reuters) - France's poultry sector said on Monday that falling sales because of bird flu fears would cost the industry 100 million euros this year and called for financial aid.

Sales in France, home to Europe's largest poultry industry with an annual turnover of 6 billion euros ($7.20 billion), were reported to be down by an average of 15 percent.

Sales started to fall in mid-October on news that bird flu, centred on Southeast Asia, had spread as far west as Romania.

"We estimate that the bird flu crisis will have cost the poultry sector 100 million euros between October and December," Christian Marinov, spokesman for French poultry farmers' association CFA, told Reuters.

"And we expect the crisis to go beyond Christmas.

"French farm minister Dominique Bussereau asked Brussels for financial help last week but he didn't obtain anything," he said.

"Decisions have now been postponed to December," he said, adding that some small businesses would not be able to hold out.

"All we got out of the EU were higher subsidies to export chicken cuts to Russia and the Middle East," he said. "But France only exports whole chickens to the Middle East, and Russia only starts importing from February."

France's second largest farm union, the Condeferation Paysanne, has called on the government to grant poultry farmers 18 million euros. "Poultry producers are not responsible for this situation and shouldn't be the ones paying for it," the union said.

Understanding Avian Influenza