Avian Influences: The Politics of the Mid-West Bird Flu Outbreak 1


Robert Wallace is an evolutionary biologist and social epidemiologist, and co-author of the mindblowing Farming Human Pathogens (2009). I had the pleasure of meeting him at a recent symposium in honor of the great ecologist, systems thinker, and activist, Richard Levins (on the occasion of his 85th birthday). In a recent blog post, Wallace addresses the recent – and ongoing – outbreak of avian influenza in the US. In this short essay he dissects the public discussion and institutional response to the outbreak, and lays bare the economic and ecological issues surrounding them. Wallace make a very compelling case that industry and government are responding in ways that serves industry first – and the public not at all.

Originally posted June 10, 2015 on Farming Pathogens:

Made in Minnesota

Industrial turkey and chicken in Minnesota, and other states Midwest and South, have been hit by a highly pathogenic strain of avian influenza A (H5N2). Millions of birds have been killed by the virus or culled in an effort to control the outbreak.

The epizootic began with a soft opening, hitting a handful of backyard farms and wild birds in December in Washington and Oregon before spreading east. Suddenly in early March, H5N2 wiped out 15,000 turkeys on an industrial farm in Pope County, Minnesota, the first of what would be nearly 9 million birds and counting killed or culled across 108 farms over 23 counties.

Go to original: Made in Minnesota

  • So happy to find your site, as my daughter (9) has bcmoee chicken-obsessed! We have a suburban “micro-farm” in a subdivision, approximately .8 acres of land, with a homeowners’ association…so it will be quite interesting when we acquire our few chicks in the spring! Look forward to reading more of your site!

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