The avian influenza (a.k.a. bird flu) outbreak in the United States has resulted in over 45 million birds killed since early March in at least 20 states and Canada, with a cost of nearly $1 billion.

The cull number is so high, Iowa state health officials are planning to kill nearly 10 percent of the state’s hen-laying population, that some states have been training non-violent prisoners to help kill the birds.

Egg production has been lowered by 25% the US and prices have been on the rise amidst shortages.

‘Recent data shows that approximately 25 percent of industrial egg product production, including liquid, frozen, and powdered eggs, is now offline due to the avian influenza,’ said ABA President & CEO Robb MacKie.

There have yet to be any instances of bird flu reported in humans, but officials remain concerned as the virus can mutate.

The USDA reported that the bird flu vaccine doesn’t provide enough protection against the H5N2 virus. “The vaccine currently available offers just 60 percent effectiveness in chickens, leaving 4 in 10 birds unprotected. The vaccine’s effectiveness in turkeys is still being studied,” the USDA said in a statement.

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