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Last Updated: Friday, 3 March 2006, 21:34 GMT
France estimates cost of bird flu
Chicken farm
The poultry industry employs 500,000 across Europe
France has become the latest country to put a figure on how much its poultry industry is losing due to falling sales in the face of fears over bird flu.

The French government said on Friday that its poultry sector - the largest in Europe - was now losing 40m euros ($48m; 27m) a month.

Officials said poultry sales had fallen both domestically and abroad where 40 nations had brought in restrictions.

Germany's poultry industry has seen demand drop 20% due to bird flu.

It estimates that the sector has lost more than 140m euros since last autumn.

Major employer

In Hungary, poultry producers said their sales had also fallen by 20% since the deadly H5N1 virus was first found there in dead swans on 21 February.

The overall European poultry industry has a turnover of about 20bn euros each year, producing 11 million tonnes of meat.

It employs more than 500,000 people.

The UK has seen no cases of the deadly H5N1 virus in poultry or wild birds.

But birds in Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey and South East Asia have been affected so far.

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