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Hungarian Poultry Processor Under Pressure

by 5m Editor
29 July 2008, at 1:40pm

HUNGARY - Poultry processor Hungerit Zrt. may be forced to cut staff by more than 10% this year as the result of high feed prices, the strong forint (HUF) and a campaign by an animal rights group.

Szentes-based Hungerit, specialised in duck and goose processing, is to lay off 200 of its 1,500 employees due to sales problems, reports Portfolio from the original article in Napi Gazdaság.

The company has recently stopped slaughtering, and only markets broilers, ducks, geese and several breaded meat products.

This alone makes Hungerit's purse some HUF7-8 billion leaner, but still gives hope for survival. Hungerit, founded in 2000, is one of Hungary's largest-capacity poultry processors. It closed last year in the black on net sales of over HUF20 billion. Owner and chief executive József Magyar told daily Délmagyarország that the company might even go bankrupt due to a drastic rise of feed prices and a persistently strong forint.

Hungerit tried but failed to pass the impact of higher feed prices onto its customers - mostly multi-national retail chains. The company, which exports the bulk of its produce, cannot cope with the strong forint either.

It has also added to Hungerit's predicaments that Vienna-based Four Paws, an animal rights group, has called for a boycott of products made from force-fed animals.

Four Paws Foundation has started an international campaign against force-feeding with the help and participation of several European countries such as Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands.

Force-feeding is already forbidden in 14 European countries (Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxemburg, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, and the Netherlands).

Signed by more than 18,000 people, the petition from Four Paws reads, "I call on the government to introduce a legal ban on all means of production of foie gras in Hungary. I will not allow any Hungarian poultry into my shopping trolley until the horrible suffering of Hungarian force-fed animals is banned forever.'

5m Editor