The USDA’s Latest Dumb Idea to Combat Avian Influenza

| 11/10/2015 9:43:00 AM


Is it okay to let the fans and air conditioners go off in a shed with 20,000 chickens inside? Of course not, and poultry growers have been prosecuted and fined for such negligence.

Yet, the USDA as of September 18, 2015 has sanctioned this action as an appropriate "depopulation" measure in an avian influenza-infected poultry barn. The ends justify the means. Apparently, gassing and foaming (causing suffocation) are too expensive and time-consuming.

Time to death, optimistically estimated at 40 to 60 minutes, depends upon outside temperature. (We assume drinking water is shut off as well). Whether this method is used or not remains to be seen, but we have to ask, "What kind of people would condone such a slow, cruel massacre?"

Questioning the Root Causes of Avian Influenza

The bigger question is “why?” Why is avian influenza happening? The poultry industry prides itself on control, from environmental comfort and nutritional quality to bio-security. Everything is state-of-the-art technology throughout. It is technology that allows the incredible scale of production involving as few humans as possible, resulting in an extremely inexpensive product (well, at the store anyway).

So, where is the system breaking down? Industry blames migrating birds and “backyard flocks” (a catch-all USDA term for everything not huge), but the outbreak numbers don't support this. In fact, the American Pastured Poultry Producers Association's 1,000-plus members have been unaffected.

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