The Chickens and the Eggs

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Japan is running out of land to bury culled chickens, as the country experiences a record outbreak of avian flu that analysts say will put a strain on the supply of poultry and compound the global spike in the price of eggs, CNN reported Thursday.

Japanese media said that 16 out of 26 prefectures did not have enough land to bury the culled birds properly. All Japanese prefectures had been grappling with avian flu outbreaks recently, with authorities culling more than 17 million chickens – the highest number on record.

Officials and farmers usually kill and bury the animals to prevent the disease from spreading, but the shortage of land has hindered these efforts.

According to the US-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, avian flu is caused by infections that occur naturally among wild aquatic birds. Infected birds can spread the virus to other animals via their saliva and other bodily fluids.

The record-breaking cull comes as analysts from Netherlands-based Rabobank released a report this month saying that global egg prices had “reached historic high levels” in the first quarter of 2023, citing the impact of avian flu across the world and higher feed costs for hens.

The findings noted that worldwide feed prices doubled between mid-2020 and mid-2022, largely because of the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The situation has prompted some people around the world to purchase their own hens in order to ensure their own supplies of the pantry staple.

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