Prolonged strike of truckers in Brazil deprived birds of feed and risked interrupting the breeding cycle. It also puts at risk of collapse the country’s poultry export industry, which is the biggest in the world.
Unless the government could get convoys of feed trucks through to poultry farms immediately, the system could enter into meltdown and mass culling of up to 100 million birds, according to Agriculture Minister Blairo Maggi.
“If that happens, Brazil will take two years to two-and-a-half years to return to the present level,” said Maggi. “We will stop being an exporter and become an importer of (chicken).”
Maggi said chickens and pigs were receiving feed only once every 48 hours – a starvation ration that created a risk of cannibalization among hunger-crazed animals that meant many had to be culled.
Brazil’s poultry industry is producing 23 million chickens ready for slaughter each day. Waste was beginning to mount because they can’t be shipped. Farmers were also increasingly unable to support the mother hens and genetic lineage required to produce the chicks for eating and further breeding.