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Christmas Turkey Shortage Anticipated

By Annie Wagner, ’27

As an update to my article in our last edition (“Avian Flu, What can you do?”) the avian flu has now infiltrated many BC turkey farms. If you are dreaming of a delicious turkey with all the fixings this holiday season, be warned: your dinner may be in danger!

Similar to the spike in human colds and flu this season, birds have their own, more dangerous flu: Avian Flu. Canadian Food Inspection Agency data shows that over 800,000 BC birds have been impacted this year by the avian flu, with 43 different farms infected. Because of this, the BC Poultry Association anticipates a 20% drop in available turkeys this year. Unfortunately, importing turkeys is not a good idea either. In the U.S., the Centre for Disease Control reports that over 49 million birds in 46 states have either died from the flu or been culled to prevent
any further spread of the virus. It doesn’t look like it’s the most wonderful time of the year for our birds.

Because of this, you might need to opt for a different main course due to the shortage. Quality birds are likely to be few and far between, and suppliers cannot guarantee that there will be enough turkeys to satisfy the typical holiday demand. In case you’re panicking over what to enjoy instead, here are two viable options.

Option 1: A much-loved holiday dinner in my family is a Swedish ham. We buy ours from Oyama Sausage on Granville island.

Option 2: For those wishing to try something new or have a more environmentally friendly meal, there is a plant-based option. Tofurkey, which, as the name implies, is made from tofu, a plant-based protein source that is enjoyed around the world in many different forms.

However you may choose to celebrate your holiday dinner, I hope you have a wonderful time with family and friends. See you in 2023!

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