Why your Thanksgiving turkey will be more expensive, explained

Avian flu is taking a toll on the world's birds

A turkey.
(Image credit: Illustrated | Getty Images)

Your Thanksgiving turkey is going to be a lot pricier this year. The avian flu epidemic has taken a terrible toll on the nation's turkey farms this year — "the virus has already eliminated more than 6 million turkeys nationwide, about 14 percent of the nation's total turkey production," The Washington Post reports.

The situation is producing, among other things, some very bad puns: "Thanksgiving turkey prices this year will put you in a 'fowl' mood," San Diego's CBS8 warned viewers. But the effect is real. Turkey prices are already up 73 percent compared to last year — almost $2 a pound for a typical bird, up from $1.15. What is the avian flu, and how much will it affect America's holiday celebrations? Here's everything you need to know:

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Joel Mathis, The Week US

Joel Mathis is a freelance writer who has spent nine years as a syndicated columnist, co-writing the RedBlueAmerica column as the liberal half of a point-counterpoint duo. His work also regularly appears in National Geographic, The Kansas City Star and Heatmap News. His awards include best online commentary at the Online News Association and (twice) at the City and Regional Magazine Association.