Don't blame wild birds
The Daily Item
June 21, 2015
In his letter from June 15, Joel Furman overestimates the contribution of free-range chicken keeping to the current avian influenza epidemic in the
Midwest. Not to say it isn’t a factor but to point out that industrialized poultry production, of which “free-range” is an extension
rather than being an alternative, has vastly increased the potential of avian flu viruses to mutate into highly pathogenic strains.
Avian flu viruses have lived harmlessly in the intestines of waterfowl for millennia. Shed in sparsely populated outdoor settings in the droppings of birds
whose immune systems have evolved to accommodate them, these viruses are kept in check. They are rapidly killed by sunlight and tend to dehydrate to death
in the breeze.
Avian flu viruses are attracted to darkness, dampness, dirt, and weakened immune systems — the perfect conditions in which to mutate and proliferate
in birds confined in filth without a glint of sunshine or a breath of fresh air. Let us not blame wild birds for an epidemic of our own making.
Current trends indicate that the global production of meat, eggs and dairy could double by 2050 — this at a time when experts are calling farmed
animal production one of the top contributors to the most pressing environmental problems we face.
Don’t Turn County into a Dumpsite
Cape Charles Wave
June 22, 2015
Your Online Newspaper in Cape Charles, Virginia
(EDITOR’S NOTE: The letter below was sent June 18 to the Northampton County Board of Supervisors from Karen Davis, President of United Poultry
Concerns, who has requested it be published in the Wave.)
TO NORTHAMPTON COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
As a resident of Northampton County since 1998, I respectfully join those who object to a rezoning ordinance that would allow commercial chicken facilities
into the county. I understand Tyson and Perdue have proposed building 50 chicken houses in Northampton County as soon as possible. I urge you to reject
their proposals. The chicken industry is a major source of environmental degradation on the Eastern Shore. Drive through Accomack County and you can smell
the oppressive odor of the chicken industry. Drive through Accomack County and you see the sick and suffering chickens going up and down Route 13 and on
the back roads. Is that what we want in Northampton County? I stand with those who say No.
Twenty years ago the Washington Post reported that the Delmarva Peninsula produced a million tons of chicken manure a year, enough to fill a
football stadium. Now it is even worse. Do we want to turn Northampton County into a dumpsite for manure piles, rodents, flies, air pollution, and other
unwholesome consequences for county residents to cope with? If we care about the people who live here, and the land we occupy, the answer is No.
Regarding the manure storage facilities and poultry litter incinerators, a report by Food & Water Watch,
Poultry Litter Incineration: An Unsustainable Solution,
says the incinerators produce toxic air emissions and will likely be subsidized by taxpayers. Toxic air emissions cited in the report include carbon
monoxide, CO2, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid, volatile organic compounds, dioxin, particulate matter and the arsenic
compound nitarsone. Do we want all this fecal pollution and pharmaceutical residue in a county whose residents, including children, already suffer from
high levels of chronic respiratory infection?
I hope the Northampton County Board of Supervisors addresses these negative outcomes by refusing to allow commercial chicken houses, manure storage
facilities, and chicken litter incinerators into the county. I stand with those who have a positive view of this county, its dignity and potential. I hope
you do too. If so, the choice is clear. The chicken industry does not belong here.
Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to your response.
Karen Davis, PhD
President, United Poultry Concerns