Friday, June 26, 2015 - Three months after a devastating form of bird flu made its first appearance in the Midwest, the first poultry farm in the region to be affected by the H5N2 virus is growing turkeys again. This Minnesota farm is a breeding operation and produces eggs necessary to repopulate other grower farms. Although there are still new cases of avian flu popping up, this farm is relatively isolated and faces less risk of the virus coming back from other farms.
The farm's turkeys started dying in late February, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture on March 4 identified the culprit. All 44,000 birds there died from the virus or were depopulated to prevent its spread. Since December of 2014, the USDA has reported 222 farms infected with avian influenza infections with a loss of more than 47 million birds.
Steve Olson, executive director of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association and the Chicken and Egg Association of Minnesota, said his group has already begun exploring the possibility of retrofitting existing poultry buildings, new mechanical or tunnel ventilation, and filtration systems to keep out viruses. Olson said, "Ultimately, one of the key criteria is, what does that barn need to look like to keep birds healthy?"
COMMENT: With all due respect to Mr. Olson’s statement, poultry health depends on what you do to the birds in the building and not on how the building looks from the outside. As long as the inmates are closely confined in a stressful, poorly ventilated space and fed antibiotics and glyphosate contaminated feed, they will be easy prey to H5N2 or any other virus that comes along. What say ye?
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