South Africa Culls 7.5 Million Chickens Amid Surging Avian Flu Outbreak

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In a concerted effort to contain a dual threat from two distinct strains of avian flu, South Africa has initiated the culling of approximately 7.5 million chickens. The alarming move comes after a series of outbreaks across the nation threaten the stable availability of both eggs and poultry for consumers. This announcement was put forward by representatives from the government and the national poultry industry on Tuesday.

The outbreak of the bird flu has been fatal for at least 205,000 chickens across more than 60 different incidents around the country. A majority of these occurrences were reported in Gauteng province, an area that encompasses Johannesburg, the nation’s largest city, and the capital, Pretoria.

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In the face of this crisis, some grocery stores in Johannesburg have chosen to restrict the quantity of eggs that customers can purchase. In certain scenarios, a customer is only permitted to take home a single six-egg carton. The government has conceded to the fact that supply “constraints” were making an impact.

In the most recent developments, the government has noted that roughly 2.5 million chickens, bred specifically for their meat, have been culled. Coupled with this, the South African Poultry Association confirmed another 5 million egg-laying hens had been culled. Combined, these figures represent a significant 20-30% of the total national stock, according to Izaak Breitenbach, the General Manager of the South African Poultry Association.