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View Diary: Flu Stories: Case Study On How Not To Communicate (52 comments)

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  •  listen to this fascinating interview (0+ / 0-)

    on science friday. I am not defending factory farms, but the two participants (one from the US and one from the UK) point out in answer to that question that backyard farms from Se Asia are hardly immune to H5N1 and that feeding more people is the trade-off.

    "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

    by Greg Dworkin on Sat Feb 10, 2007 at 09:58:15 AM PST

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    •  Going further (0+ / 0-)

      Maybe it's best to cut to the chase.  After centuries of keeping captive, killing, and eating chickens and other animals, the fact that our meat-eating ways might be rebouding on us in lethal ways can also be seen as "farm animals" getting back at us for a change.

      "No doubt Jack the Ripper excused himself on the grounds that it was human nature." A.A. Milne

      by DurianJoe on Sat Feb 10, 2007 at 10:10:41 AM PST

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    •  On the other hand (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Hens Teeth
      I find this article fascinating:
      how industrial practices spread bird flu

      Backyard or free-range poultry are not fuelling the current wave of bird flu outbreaks stalking large parts of the world. 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 paper 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.

      It's true that backyard poultry likely aren't sufficient to feed the world - but chickens are so easy to raise (and good for your garden as well) that moves to crack down on backyard birds could significantly reduce biodiversity and also be a food crisis for families who rely upon them. If it saves lives, it would be worth it... but I would suggest that simply improving hygene practices to minimize bird-human contact could provide a safer outcome and without so much fallout.

      The factory farms produce a densely packed monoculture and once the flu virus is introduced, it is a foregone conclusion that the whole flock will be infected. In less dense settings, with birds that aren't all the same genetic stock, you can expect that some birds would be resistant - and even then, destroying a flock of 10 is different than a flock of 10,000. If a nation's poultry is produced in only 3 locations, all it takes is three transmissions to infect all the birds.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Sat Feb 10, 2007 at 06:41:03 PM PST

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      •  "this means the end of the small-scale poultry (0+ / 0-)

        farming"

        Agri-business has created the problem, and then is using it to get rid of competition from small independents.  We are losing the right to grow our own food.

        "Davis-Bacon prevailing wage, I'm not sure what that is" Sen. Jeff Sessions

        by Hens Teeth on Sun Feb 11, 2007 at 07:56:16 AM PST

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