(NaturalNews) The widely reported bird flu outbreak that authorities say has already resulted in the slaughter of some 45-plus million chickens and turkeys is completely decimating the poultry industry throughout the U.S. In addition to losing infected birds, many local farms are reportedly having to destroy otherwise healthy broods to avoid further spread of the disease, a gruesome process that typically involves spraying the birds with “suffocating foam” and “composting” their bodies.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates that more than 200 outbreaks have occurred among chickens, turkeys and various other birds, though no humans have been diagnosed with either of the two circulating strains — H5N2 and H5N8. Outbreaks have been detected in at least 20 states, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and more states are expected to see cases in the coming weeks and months.
Egg shortages are also being reported, as some 25% of the country’s commercial egg production is now offline, with more producers expected to follow suit. Fast food chain Whataburger has had to drastically reduce its breakfast hours to accommodate the shortage, cutting its formerly 12-hour breakfast window to just four hours on weekdays, and six hours on weekends. Taco Bell, Dunkin’ Donuts and other fast food chains haven’t yet changed their menu offerings but are continuing to monitor the situation.
What does all this mean for the average consumer? If you’re used to buying conventional white eggs at the store for about $2 a dozen, expect to pay more due to the shortage. If you pay more for local eggs from your neighborhood farmer, you might not see any, increases as small-scale, pastured poultry most likely won’t be affected by bird flu, which tends to primarily affect commercial chicken factory farms.
Veterinary association says blasting chickens with foam and suffocating them is most humane killing method
The problem with industrial-scale food production of any kind is that, if contamination somehow enters the production cycle, in this case bird flu, entire production systems have to be purged to take care of the problem. With a disease as contagious as bird flu, large-scale chicken and egg producers literally have no choice but to manually slaughter entire broods in order to stop the disease in its tracks.
But how, exactly, do they do this? Most consumers of factory-produced food probably don’t realize what it takes to maintain such systems. Besides the filthy, overcrowded living conditions present in most industrial-scale henhouses, the sheer volume of birds living in them means that drastic and often inhumane measures have to be taken when there’s an outbreak.
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) maintains that the most humane way to dispose of contaminated broods is to blast them with foam and suffocate them to death. It sounds gruesome, and that’s because it is, but AVMA estimates that this is the only way to kill off large numbers of birds “as painless and stress-free as possible.”
The following video shows densely packed factory chickens in Israel being killed en masse with suffocating foam. Not to minimize the sobering reality of the Holocaust, this method of killing chickens and disposing of their bodies is eerily reminiscent of the infamous “gas chambers” that were used to kill off large numbers of people during World War II. (Please be aware that this video clip is graphic and disturbing):
By purchasing factory-produced foods, you’re supporting unsustainable production systems that lead to horrific outbreaks
Packing tens of thousands of chickens into enclosed environments where they have no access to the outdoors and are force-fed GMOs (genetically modified organisms) is a recipe for major disaster. We already know what happens when human beings are forced into tight ghettos or slums and deprived of proper nutrition and outdoor activity — their immune systems grow weak and they become more prone to infectious disease and death.
Pasture-raised animals living on small-scale farms are much more resilient, it turns out, and typically don’t have to be slaughtered every time there’s a disease outbreak. Having the ability to roam about freely in the open, sun-drenched air and peck at insects and grass makes pasture-raised chickens a whole different breed.
Though their meat and eggs typically cost more, pasture-raised animals are healthy and sustainable. The cheap eggs and meat at your local grocery supermarket, on the other hand, are not, as evidenced once again by this latest bird flu outbreak. If you purchase commercial eggs from caged and abused chickens, many of which are now being slaughtered in one of the biggest animal disease outbreaks in history, you’re inadvertently contributing to mass suffering and needless death.
“It’s no surprise birds are dying when they’re all packed into a barn and fed the same cheap crap everyday,” wrote one commenter at End of the American Dream. “Cows [another example of the perils of factory farming] are fed GM corn and cow meat and stand in their manure all day.”
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Written by Ethan A. Huff
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