pogo-enemyThe hype over bird flu has been good for US Agri-giants Tyson (self-proclaimed World’s Largest Protien Producer) Goldkist, Pilgrim’s Pride, Perdue & ConAgra according to “Bird Flu and Chicken Factory Farms: Profit Bonanza for US Agribusiness”

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) released a report in 2004 on the economic impact to date of Avian or Bird Flu.3 It noted that the main impact of the panic which has grown globally since around 2003, has been economic loss, not human deaths. ‘The impact of countries banning both Thai and Chinese poultry exports,’ the FAO report noted, ‘are leading to higher international poultry prices and increasing demand for poultry meat from other major suppliers, such as the United States…’

Not surprisingly, these giant corporations are capitalizing on consumer fears, using the paranoia surrounding the asian bird flu to increase profits. What isn’t being said is this:

The conditions of chicken breeding and slaughter documented inside the giant factory chicken farms of Tyson, Perdue, ConAgra, contrary to their company propaganda, are anything but reassuring to human health.
>snip< According to Earthsave International, some 30% of US chicken is tainted with Salmonella and fully 62% with the equally virulent Campylobacter. Time magazine termed raw chicken, ‘one of the most dangerous items in the American home.’ In 1997 contaminated chicken killed at least 1,000 in the United States and poisoned and made sick 80 million others, orders of magnitude more deadly than Avian Flu, but unreported in the media. Tyson, Perdue and the other agribusiness chicken giants have created scientific breeding grounds for disease and pathogens. In fact, the conditions in factory farms are far more inducive to spreading disease into the surrounding communities. But we cannot, in good faith, blame the corporations for factory farmed chicken when it is consumer demand that has created this monster. Imagine how quickly this quagmire would evaporate if everyone stopped buying chicken!

By Camille Armantrout

Camille lives with her soul mate Bob in the back woods of central North Carolina where she hikes, gardens, cooks, and writes.