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50 Million Casualties – Bird Flu Comes a Calling


As if we needed one more reason to boycott factory-farmed animal products, here comes another horror story. It all started earlier this year when the Department of Agriculture began issuing warnings to the poultry industry. H5N2 was knocking wild birds out of the sky, birds sick with highly pathogenic avian influenza. Within a few months, outbreaks began occurring in domesticated flocks.

In Iowa, avian flu spread wildly through tightly packed egg factories, prompting them to declare a state of emergency. Similar stories soon poured across the Midwest. In April, Minnesota lost 7% of its turkey production. To date close to 50 million birds have died of the flu or were killed to staunch the epidemic.

This is horrible on several levels. Egg consumers, especially bakeries and breakfast cafes are taking a hard hit as the price of eggs doubles. International exporters are losing money due to poultry bans from a dozen countries. U.S. Poultry farmers are starting over after being only partially compensated for the lost and culled birds. USDA officials are scrambling to determine how the disease is spread and there are murmurs of fear should the flu manage to jump species and begin infecting humans.

Not to mention the birds themselves; suffering and being put to death. No wait, that’s nothing new for them. The life of animals in Confined Animal Feeding Operations is so bad, that “premature” death is likely a blessing.

Bottom line, cramming thousands of animals into tight spaces is a recipe for disaster. To survive the stress of their environment, they are fed antibiotics and other unnatural fare. One whiff of virus and their immune systems succumb. This is no way to keep animals and a bad way to feed human beings.


Health Impact News
Avian Flu Outbreak Among Chickens—How Long Can we Continue this Failed Food System? – June 25
“These animals are fed a completely unnatural diet of glyphosate-containing genetically engineered (GE) grains mixed with antibiotics—a surefire recipe for drug resistance and out-of-control spread of disease, both among animals and humans.”
“Amy Mayer, an Iowa Public Radio reporter told PBS5 that scientists are still struggling to figure out how the outbreak was able to spread as widely as it has.”

Rochester Home Page
Avian influenza causes egg shortage – June 24
“Nearly 50 million birds have died, mainly in the Midwest”

Times Free Press
Consumers feel the pain as bird flu outbreak causes egg prices to soar – June 22
“It’s normally a $35 to $45 expense — but not this time.
“I paid $80 for the case I bought last week,” she said. “I feel the pain, yes.”

Eco Watch
Avian Flu Epidemic Prompts CDC Warning of ‘Potential for Human Infection’- June 3
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released an official advisory to warn health workers and clinicians of the potential for human infection of the devastating avian flu currently ravaging the Midwest.

Business insider
Dozens of countries are banning US poultry because of a huge bird flu outbreak – April 30
“Dozens of countries have imposed total or partial bans on U.S. poultry and poultry imports since an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) was discovered in December.

Each of the top 10 importers has introduced restrictions. Total bans have been imposed by China, South Korea and Angola, whose markets were valued at nearly $700 million last year.”

Wall Street Journal
Escalating Bird-Flu Outbreak Takes Toll on U.S. Poultry Farms – April 24
“Researchers think it is spreading through the droppings of wild ducks and geese as they migrate to the upper Midwest to breed during the warmer months of the year. But it’s unclear how the virus enters already tightly managed poultry houses, which typically are enclosed to prevent exposure to pathogens and predators.”
“Farmers whose birds are determined through USDA testing to have a case of the influenza receive compensation from the agency for birds that must be destroyed. But payments don’t cover birds that die from the flu, which can rapidly move through flocks.”

Hawaii Tribune-Herald
Ag department warns of avian flu – April 1, 2015
The state Department of Agriculture warned Hawaii commercial and backyard poultry and bird owners Tuesday to be vigilant because of outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5 along the Pacific migratory bird path.

Daily KOS
CAFOs and Avian Flu – February 25, 2007
“Stressed out animals fed an unnatural diet and living in filth on bare earth or concrete, or cramped into tiny cages, get sick very easily. Very easily. Only large and regular doses of powerful antibiotics make the business model viable.”

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.

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