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Poultry farmers push gov't for bird flu compensation

Some 100 poultry farmers attended a demonstration in front of the Agriculture Ministry on Tuesday asking for more compensation for their bird flu-related losses.

The organizer, farmers' association Magosz, handed over a petition addressed to Agriculture Minister József Gráf demanding that he authorizes a government commissioner to prepare a comprehensive assessment of the effects of the bird flu epidemic on Hungary's poultry sector. The commissioner could then advise the government on helping to resuscitate the ailing industry, according to the petition.
Some 500,000 birds have been culled on farms near Kiskunmajsa, south Hungary, where the deadly H5N1 strain first appeared early in June, as part of protective action to stop the spread of the virus. Bans on transporting or slaughtering fowl for consumption are still in effect in some places near the infected area. Farmers estimate the sector to have suffered several tens of billions of forints from all the ill effects, while compensation offered by the government and matched by EU funding could total Ft 2.5 billion at most.