• Parrots
  • Poultry
  • Birds of Prey
  • Pigeons
  • Passerine
  • Bird Accessories and feed
  • Game Birds
  • Wading birds
  • Sea Birds
  • Other birds
  • More
    All Categories
    • All Categories
    • Parrots
    • Poultry
    • Birds of Prey
    • Pigeons
    • Passerine
    • Bird Accessories and feed
    • Game Birds
    • Wading birds
    • Sea Birds
    • Other birds
    • Events
    • Services
    • Other Animals

    Bird flu empties South Africa's ostrich farms

    NewsPoultry NewsFriday 13 January 2012
    Share:
    South Africa

    South Africa's ostrich farmers are struggling to cope after thousands of their birds were culled during one of the country's worst outbreaks of bird flu.

    Exports to Europe - the biggest market for South Africa's ostrich meat - have crashed since the EU banned the import of the low-cholesterol meat to stop the virus spreading.

    Some farmers have been able to salvage their business through exporting ostrich feathers to South America - they are used in the colourful Rio Carnival.

    Oudtshoorn, a town about 450km (279 miles) from Cape Town, is the heartland of the country's ostrich industry.

    Highgate Ostrich Show Farm is empty, apart from a few workers cleaning the yard there is no-one else in sight.

    This is uncharacteristic of the popular tourist farm which is always abuzz with activity.

    Hundreds of local and international visitors would normally be queuing to ride trained ostriches, buy luxury ostrich products such as leather and feathers or simply to spend time feeding the birds.

    But for the first time in its 80 years, there are no ostriches for visitors to see - they have all been culled.

    "When the virus was discovered on our farm a few months ago the authorities came and took away all our birds," Arenhold Hooper tells me.

    His ostriches were among 40,000 ostriches killed in the area, believed to either have the virus or have come into contact with infected birds.

    All the meat was thrown away.

    Mr Hooper is a fifth-generation ostrich farmer. He says he had to fire all his 38 employees and close the farm - he and his workers are now unemployed.


    News
    Subscribe to our newsletter
    //