REPORT SAYS GLOBAL POULTRY INDUSTRY IS THE ROOT OF THE BIRD FLU CRISIS

En disculpa de les cigonyes…

GRAIN PRESS RELEASE
Embargoed until 27 February 2006 (00:01 GMT)
Contact: Devlin Kuyek (Montreal) +1 514 2737314

Small-scale poultry farming and wild birds are being unfairly blamed for the bird flu crisis now affecting large parts of the world. A new report from GRAIN shows how the transnational poultry industry is the root of the problem and must be the focus of efforts to control the virus.
The spread of industrial poultry production and trade networks has created ideal conditions for the emergence and transmission of lethal viruses like the H5N1 strain of bird flu. Once inside densely populated factory farms, viruses can rapidly become lethal and amplify. Air thick with viral load from infected farms is carried for kilometres, while integrated trade networks spread the disease through many carriers: live birds, day-old-chicks, meat, feathers, hatching eggs, eggs, chicken manure and animal feed.
“Everyone is focused on migratory birds and backyard chickens as the problem,” says Devlin Kuyek of GRAIN. “But they are not effective vectors of highly pathogenic bird flu. The virus kills them, but is unlikely to be spread by them.”
For example, in Malaysia, the mortality rate from H5N1 among village chicken is only 5%, indicating that the virus has a hard time spreading among small scale chicken flocks. H5N1 outbreaks in Laos, which is surrounded by infected countries, have only occurred in the nation’s few factory farms, which are supplied by Thai hatcheries. The only cases of bird flu in backyard poultry, which account for over 90% of Laos’ production, occurred next to the factory farms.
“The evidence we see over and over again, from the Netherlands in 2003 to Japan in 2004 to Egypt in 2006, is that lethal bird flu breaks out in large scale industrial chicken farms and then spreads,” Kuyek explains.
The Nigerian outbreak earlier this year began at a single factory farm, owned by a Cabinet minister, distant from hotspots for migratory birds but known for importing unregulated hatchable eggs. In India, local authorities say that H5N1 emerged and spread from a factory farm owned by the country’s largest poultry company, Venkateshwara Hatcheries.
A burning question is why governments and international agencies, like the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, are doing nothing to investigate how the factory farms and their byproducts, such as animal feed and manure, spread the virus. Instead, they are using the crisis as an opportunity to further industrialise the poultry sector. Initiatives are multiplying to ban outdoor poultry, squeeze out small producers and restock farms with genetically-modified chickens. The web of complicity with an industry engaged in a string of denials and cover-ups seems complete.
“Farmers are losing their livelihoods, native chickens are being wiped out and some experts say that we’re on the verge of a human pandemic that could kill millions of people,” Kuyek concludes. “When will governments realise that to protect poultry and people from bird flu, we need to protect them from the global poultry industry?”

Us recomano vivament que feu una ullada a un informe que han fet públic des d’aquesta organització, molt complert (19 pàgs.) amb àmplies referències a Àsia. El paper reforça el que ja exposen en aquesta nota de prensa. Si us interessa el tema, és una bona font d’informació qualificada.

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2 responses to “REPORT SAYS GLOBAL POULTRY INDUSTRY IS THE ROOT OF THE BIRD FLU CRISIS

  1. Molt interesting copy/pasto el resum inicial del pdf, pq trobo que ho resum molt bé.

    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.

  2. The real frightening thing about middle age is the knowledge that you’ll grow out of it “Doris Day”

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