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UN Says Poultry Consumption and Trade to Drop in 2006

The United Nations predicts fear of deadly avian flu will cause poultry consumption to drop by three million tons this year. That is an almost four percent fall in worldwide demand for chickens and other birds.

The U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization says weakening demand will hurt poultry industries worldwide and hit poultry farmers in the developing world who eke out a poverty-level living.

Already, worries about the H5N1 flu have cut poultry consumption sharply in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Italian consumption has fallen 70 percent. French farmers are angry that many countries have banned their poultry.

In India, weak demand cut poultry prices more than 10 percent.

The Food and Agriculture Organization says the decline is a sharp change from last year's 10 percent gains.