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Uniting Food, Farm and Hotel Workers World-Wide

One-Third of Global Meat Exports Affected by Animal Disease

Posted to the IUF website 04-Mar-2004

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According to the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Agency (FAO), some one-third of global meat exports is currently affected by recent outbreaks of animal disease. The FAO estimates that "With the value of global meat and live animal trade estimated at $33 billion (excluding EU intra-trade), this could amount to world trade losses of up to $10 billion, if import bans extend throughout 2004.

"Trade losses will likely accrue to the 12 countries which are facing export bans or market constrains as a result of animal disease concerns related to avian influenza and BSE. This estimate does not include costs of public disease control measures, losses to producers and consumers through destabilized markets and fluctuating prices, and the general costs to the industry.

"The impact on small poultry producers in Asia may be considerable, with over 100 million birds estimated to have died or have been culled over the past two months. In particular, the impact of import bans on export-dependent countries, such as Thailand, which has culled around 36 million birds or 25 percent of the domestic flocks, will increase the income vulnerablity of small producers as local prices drop sharply. "

The US and Canadian beef industries which together account for about a quarter of world beef exports, have been hit hard by import bans. The US Department of Agriculture estimates that "US beef exports, after reaching 1.2 million tonnes in 2003, are expected to drop to 100,000 tonnes in 2004 if bans remain in place for the entire year."

The FAO supplies no estimates for job losses resulting from lowered production and exports in the wake of the diseases, but preliminary evidence from the producer countries affected by the epidemics indicates it is considerable. Significant layoffs have already been implemented by major US beef producers.
More information as well as related links are available on the FAO website at www.fao.org