Time to act

Your Chickens - - Feature | Bird Flu - Com­ment: By wa­ter­fowl ex­pert and au­thor Chris Ash­ton

In 1968, the year of the last hu­man Hong Kong Flu H3N2 pan­demic, there were 13 mil­lion chick­ens in China. Now, there are more than 13 bil­lion. (Greger: The Bird Flu Book). Cy­cles of pro­duc­tion have been re­duced to just a few weeks for th­ese bil­lions to be pass­ing through the sys­tem at a point in time. In ad­di­tion, the pig pop­u­la­tion has in­creased. The pos­si­bil­ity of flu virus mu­ta­tion in this re­gion is acute. It cer­tainly wor­ries vi­rol­o­gists.

To­gether with the in­crease in hu­man pop­u­la­tion and our in­creased ap­petite for poul­try meat, the world is breeding and eat­ing it­self into the next pan­demic. The hu­man pop­u­la­tion, at its present level of re­source de­ple­tion, is past the planet’s car­ry­ing ca­pac­ity. It re­ally is time we ad­dressed how we pro­duce and mal­treat huge num­bers farm an­i­mals, as well as how many we con­sume.

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