28 September 2006

Bird Flu, Mad Cow, etc...

Remember mad cow disease? It is still around. And look at the following quote and report from the Global Development Briefing, November 2005 about bird flu. The opening quote sums up perfectly my thoughts on the problems with the way animals are treated and why these strange diseases keep cropping up in them. In the name of increasing production, people treat animals as products that require human manipulation to be fit for our use. These weird diseases are the logical consequence.

"We are wasting valuable time pointing fingers at wild birds when we should be focusing on dealing with the root causes of this epidemic spread which are clearly to be found in rural poultry practices, the movement of domestic poultry, and farming methods which crowd huge numbers of animals into small spaces."

-- William Karesh, an observer with the Task Force convened by the UN Environmental Program (UNEP) Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and director of Field Veterinary Program of the Wildlife Conservation Society, on efforts to combat the deadly avian flu. Ever since the first human case of bird flu, linked to widespread poultry outbreaks in Viet Nam and Thailand, was reported in January last year, UN health officials have warned that the avian flu, otherwise known as the H5N1 virus, could evolve into a global influenza pandemic if it mutates into a form which could be transmitted easily between people. The UN will launch an appeal later this week for at least $50 million to improve animal surveillance in the fight against bird flu, said Joseph Domenech, chief veterinary officer at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.

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