It’s all too easy to say “yes, we care about animal welfare-but people will always want their cheap food, so you’ll never get very far”. Our jumping-off point today is a passionate and deeply moral article by British MP Andrea Jenkyns for the Independent. She is excoriating about the dreadful conditions that factory chickens are kept in, and the pandemics of avian flu that sweep through the industry (nine in 2020 alone!)
It’s the word pandemic that presses the alarm button for us at LSS. Because it could spread to us too. Most of the pandemic diseases that plague us started with the domestication of animals in the Neolithic. Including tuberculosis, measles, rhinoviruses, smallpox and of course the influenza group, the orthomyxoviridae. The key genus to worry about is alpha, with its well known HxNx classification, whose various strains can cause bird flu or human flu, among others. What is more, the pesky things can jump the barriers between humans, birds and pigs, incubate and mutate in any one, then jump out again to kill. Especially when the hosts are living in crowded filthy conditions-which is Andrea’s great fear. Web MD has a nice link which goes into this: but what you should know is that bird flu is high on the list as the next possible pandemic agent.
And so, with Andrea Jenkyns, we ask you, our readers this question: is money the only way to measure the price of food?
We thank Mr Gary Herbert of Buckinghamshire for this story
#influenza #pandemic #avianflu #factoryfarming #chicken