Almost five million chickens and turkeys perished in France during the recent heat wave, which saw temperatures regularly reaching 40 degrees Celsius.

Weeks of higher-than-average temperatures across most of France cost poultry farmers €50m (US$56.2m) in losses, around 4% of the industry’s turnover, according to Alain Melot, president of France’s poultry producers’ federation (FIA).

Melot called on the government to take steps to help French producers recover from the crisis facing the poultry industry and to protect the more than 1,000 jobs currently at risk, reported Agence France Presse.