Poultry processors in British Columbia are trying to find enough turkeys in time for Christmas after avian influenza claimed thousands of birds in the Canadian province.

Suppliers in British Columbia are bringing in birds from other parts of the country to “make sure that no Christmas table will be without a turkey,” said Michel Benoit, general manager of BC Turkey Farmers.

Avian influenza has claimed 34,000 turkeys slated for Christmas consumption. Those losses account for about a significant percentage of holiday consumption in British Columbia.

“They were going to be Christmas turkeys,” Benoit told Bloomberg News. “It is a big loss.”


The disease so far has killed turkeys on three farms in British Columbia’s Fraser Valley in past weeks. Avian influenza has been confirmed at a total of seven farms in the province, also infecting broilers. A total of 155,000 birds have died of the virus or will be culled, according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

The outbreaks have caused numerous countries to implement trade restrictions on poultry from British Columbia. Among those countries are the United States, Mexico, South Africa, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore and South Korea.

Avian influenza has been a big concern for the poultry industry within the past three months, with other outbreaks occurring in The Netherlands, U.K., Germany, Japan, India and Vietnam.