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The Global Poultry Industry is the Root of the Bird Flu Crisis

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Clara T Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 01:40 PM
Original message
The Global Poultry Industry is the Root of the Bird Flu Crisis


The deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu is essentially a problem of industrial poultry practices. Its epicentre is the factory farms of China and Southeast Asia and -- while wild birds can carry the disease, at least for short distances -- its main vector is the highly self-regulated transnational poultry industry, which sends the products and waste of its farms around the world through a multitude of channels.

Yet small poultry farmers and the poultry biodiversity and local food security that they sustain are suffering badly from the fall-out.

To make matters worse, governments and international agencies, following mistaken assumptions about how the disease spreads and amplifies, are pursuing measures to force poultry indoors and further industrialise the poultry sector. In practice, this means the end of the small-scale poultry farming that provides food and livelihoods to hundreds of millions of families across the world.

This new GRAIN report presents a fresh perspective on the bird flu story that challenges current assumptions and puts the focus back where it should be: on the transnational poultry industry.

http://www.grain.org/front /

Go Here to Read Full Report:
http://www.grain.org/briefings/?id=194
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Fridays Child Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 01:55 PM
Response to Original message
1. Excellent resource!
:thumbsup:
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Clara T Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 01:58 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. The "Flu Pandemic"
is a hard nut to crack. The true believers seem as rigid to examinig the roots of this problem as any group of fundies you can find. Very bizarre as most of the ones I've run into are really well versed in any number of other political-environmental issues. It's as if they want or need crisis mentality.
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glitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 02:51 PM
Response to Reply #3
7. "Crisis Mentality" I think you're right. Emotion-based analysis, addicted
to fear. It's not just right wing fundies that are subject to it.
Our culture promotes it heavily, it makes us easier to manipulate.
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Tsiyu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 01:57 PM
Response to Original message
2. great article
The best one I've read on the subject so far.

To me, this issue is about food security. Too many people depend on backyard flocks for food to just say, "Nobody gets to keep chickens except large-scale producers."

This snip debunks one of the fallacies of this disease ( that migratory wild birds are spreading the disease):

"The main weakness in the migratory bird theory is that the geographical spread of the disease does not match with migratory routes and seasons. "No species migrates from Qinghai, China, west to Eastern Europe," says BirdLife's Dr Richard Thomas. "When plotted, the pattern of outbreaks follows major road and rail routes, not flyways. And the absence of outbreaks in Africa, South and Southeast Asia and Australasia this autumn is hard to explain, if wild birds are the primary carriers."<16> If migratory birds are transmitting the disease, why has bird flu not hit the Philippines or Burma, and why has it been confined to a few commercial operations in Laos, when all three countries are surrounded by bird flu-infected countries? Even if it is possible for migratory birds to transport the disease, as recent cases in Europe suggest, there are much more significant vectors of transmission that should be the focus of attention. There is simply no good reason to batten down the hatches and force poultry indoors.



Backyard chickens: vectors or victims?

The bird conservation community has helped us to understand how wild birds are victims not vectors of highly pathogenic avian influenza.<17> The highly pathogenic strains of bird flu develop in poultry, most likely in poultry exposed to milder strains that live naturally in wild bird populations. Within crowded poultry operations, the mild virus evolves rapidly towards more pathogenic and highly transmissible forms, capable of jumping species and spreading back into wild birds, which are defenseless against the new strain. In this sense, H5N1 is a poultry virus killing wild birds, not the other way around.<18>

The same argument holds for small-scale poultry production. Bird flu does not evolve to highly pathogenic forms in backyard poultry operations, where low-density and genetic diversity keep the viral load to low levels. Backyard poultry are the victims of bird flu strains brought in from elsewhere.

When backyard farms are separated from the source of highly pathogenic bird flu, the virus seems to die out or evolve towards a less pathogenic form."


Thanks for finding this, Clara T


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eppur_se_muova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 02:08 PM
Response to Original message
4. Sad to note that poultry industry was one of Clinton's biggest supporters.
Tyson's is based in Arkansas, and I believe the CEO was a personal friend of WJC. Poultry got some of the same deregulation under Clinton that Reagan & Bush Sr. had given to beef. Disposal of waste (OK, chicken shit) was one of the big issues, as improper disposal was/is fouling streams. Now we have to think about how that would help spread viruses.
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Fridays Child Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 02:32 PM
Response to Original message
5. Kicked and Recommended. Please do the same!
:hi:
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Clara T Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 02:32 PM
Response to Original message
6. Chicken Concentrate
Edited on Sat Mar-04-06 02:33 PM by Clara T
Chicken concentrate

The transformation of poultry production in Asia in recent decades is staggering. In the Southeast Asian countries where most of the bird flu outbreaks are concentrated -- Thailand, Indonesia, and Viet Nam -- production jumped eightfold in just 30 years, from around 300,000 metric tonnes (mt) of chicken meat in 1971 to 2,440,000 mt in 2001. China's production of chicken tripled during the 1990s to over 9 million mt per year. Practically all of this new poultry production has happened on factory farms concentrated outside of major cities and integrated into transnational production systems.<1> This is the ideal breeding ground for highly-pathogenic bird flu -- like the H5N1 strain threatening to explode into a human flu pandemic.<2>

Nevertheless, the many papers, statements and strategy documents coming out of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), World Health Organisation (WHO) and relevant government agencies contain barely a whisper about the implications of industrial poultry in the bird flu crisis. Instead, fingers are pointed at backyard farms, with calls for tighter controls on their operations and greater "restructuring" of the poultry sector. The big poultry corporations are even trying to use the bird flu outbreaks as an "opportunity" to do away with what is left of small-scale poultry production.<3> "We cannot control migratory birds but we can surely work hard to close down as many backyard farms as possible," said Margaret Say, Southeast Asian director for the USA Poultry and Egg Export Council. The reactions from some scientists are no less outrageous. Researchers in the UK are pursuing transgenic bird flu-resistant chickens. "Once we have regulatory approval, we believe it will only take between four and five years to breed enough chickens to replace the entire world population," said Laurence Tiley, Professor of Molecular Virology at Cambridge University.<4>

Backyard farming is not an idle pastime for landowners. It is the crux of food security and farming income for hundreds of millions of rural poor in Asia and elsewhere, providing a third of the protein intake for the average rural household.<5> Nearly all rural households in Asia keep at least a few chickens for meat, eggs and even fertilizer and they are often the only livestock that poor farmers can afford. The birds are thus critical to their diversified farming methods, just as the genetic diversity of poultry on small farms is critical to the long-term survival of poultry farming in general.

The FAO knows this. Before the Asian bid flu crisis, it vaunted the benefits of backyard poultry for the rural poor and biodiversity and ran programmes encouraging it.<6> But today, with the H5N1 strain at the gates of Western Europe, it is more common to hear the FAO speak of the risks of backyard farming. This is a reckless mistake. When it comes to bird flu, diverse small-scale poultry farming is the solution, not the problem.

http://www.grain.org/briefings/?id=194
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Hidden Stillness Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 03:18 PM
Response to Original message
8. One Disaster After Another--Cows, Birds....
Just the same way the "mad cow disease," which is not a disease and has nothing to do with the brain or neurology of the cow, was also caused by global agri-business. As many people know, they grind up uninspected dead animals, and feed them to the new cows (I can hardly even believe I am typing this, but of course everybody knows it by now). This cannibalism wreaks havoc on the entire health and eventually life of the (vegetarian) animals, who are also kept propped up by injections of antibiotics, vitamins, etc., masking everything. The taunted meat, etc., then makes its way into the commercial food supply, and we have transmission to humans. It is the completely incomprehensible practices of the global agri-business industries that has brought on these previously unheard-of horrors.
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HeeBGBz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 03:20 PM
Response to Original message
9. I expect when it hits the US
All the Tyson plants in northern Arkansas and other places here in the midwest will be ground zero.
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Gregorian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 03:56 PM
Response to Original message
10. Again, it's directly related to overpopulation.
We're trying to sustain more than the planet allows. It's that simple. From corporate pig farms killing rivers, to poultry virus, to melting ice caps. It all stems from one problem. Until we bring it back down to a sustainable level, the planet will be in peril. That means fewer children. One child per family. There is no alternative.
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mike_c Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 04:07 PM
Response to Original message
11. this report makes a very good point....
High density poultry farming does indeed create conditions that are perfect for disease transmission, but even more important, it maximizes selection for pathogenicity-- or more to the point, it minimizes the disadvantage of high pathogenicity-- the dead end nature of a dead and decayed host. Wild bird populations do not do this to nearly the same extent-- in most wild populations, the cost of high pathogenicity is decreased transmissiblity and reservior maintenance.

I'm not sure I agree with the conclusion that migration is not a significant vector route, but clearly movement of birds and materials within the poultry industry is too. Remember too that LOCAL bird movements often follow landscape edges, including roads.
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undergroundpanther Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 04:31 PM
Response to Original message
12. Mad cow
is due to factory farms,now bird flu..when will we make corporations PAY for the damage they do for profits.
There is benzene in sodas and the FDA is not releasing the name because they are testing,well,I think WE need to know the name of the criminals,for our own health..Oh I forgot this is america where corporate profits and CE-os making money come before public safety..
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Nikki Stone 1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 04:33 PM
Response to Original message
13. kicked and recommended
:kick:
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Clara T Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-05-06 08:17 PM
Response to Original message
14. kick for truth
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Fridays Child Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-07-06 09:42 AM
Response to Original message
15. Hoping more DUers will read this and send it out to their lists.
:kick:
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