Avian Influenza: outbreaks and the impact on UK consumer demand for poultry
According to FAO (2008) the year 2006 was identified as the ‘peak’ of the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 with 60 countries reporting outbreaks. The UK had its first confirmed AI outbreak in March 2006 and, to date, the country has experienced eleven AI outbreaks. Most countries reporting AI outbreaks had, as a result, experienced a highly negative impact on their poultry consumption. This paper sets out to examine how AI outbreaks affected UK consumer demand for poultry. Pilot data have been obtained on a four weekly basis from the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) for the period May 2nd 2010 to March 1st 2015. By employing the Almost Ideal Demand System (AIDS) model, the preliminary results have indicated that during the examined period poultry meat had the highest demand in terms of monetary amounts accounting for 43 per cent of the market. Overall, the pilot data revealed that there is no evidence to support that the occurrence of an AI outbreak, either in the UK or elsewhere in the world, had affected consumption of poultry in the UK. This result complies with the FAS London statement that UK consumers have ‘faith’ in poultry.
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