Sunday, May 3, 2015

Chicken Factory Infections with Bird Flu

Many people are scratching their heads, unable to understand how CAFO poultry farms are being infected, one after another.  Why are their biosecurity methods not protecting them?  Small Flockers, and this Blog may be able to shed some light onto this puzzling problem.

In a previous posting, we discussed Bad Bad Bird Flu and its primary linkage to CAFO chicken factory farms.  It appears we need to do some additional research on this biohazardous issue for the growing cohort of lost or doubting souls.

CAFO chicken factories pass on ~100% of the cost for Bird Flu
to the Canadian consumer.  This moral hazard ensures that the
Bird Flu epidemics will continue, due to the careless actions of
the CAFO factory farmers, and the bumbling bureaucracy of
Canada's Supply Management systems.

Chicken Factory Ventilation Factor

This Blog previously reported how poultry farms have been identified as increasing the odd 720 times higher for deadly E-coli contamination of spinach growing in fields up to 10 miles away (see Blog Posting "Biohazardous Ground Zero: Factory Chicken Farms").  This was the biggest risk factor of all during that research.

This contamination likely comes from the chicken factory exhaust air that is spewed into the atmosphere on a near-constant basis.

If a CAFO chicken factory spews infectious E.coli 10 miles downwind, can CAFO chicken factories spew infectious Bird Flu downwind too?

Can CAFO chicken factories ventilation systems suck in infectious materials from wild birds (or an infected CAFO) that is upwind of this yet uninfected CAFO?

Research has shown that avian flu can be carried downwind on dust

Fly Factor 

United Nations FAO reports:
"Research conducted by the Ohio Department of Health indicated that residences that were located in close proximity to poultry facilities (within half a mile) had 83 times the average number of flies. In addition to the nuisance they cause, flies and mosquitoes can transmit diseases, such as cholera, dysentery, typhoid, malaria, filaria and dengue fever."
 Ohio State University reports:

"...flies may spread diseases such as conjunctivitis, poliomyelitis, typhoid fever, tuberculosis, anthrax, leprosy, cholera, diarrhea and dysentery. They may serve as intermediate hosts for parasitic tapeworms on  poultry or parasitic roundworms on horses."

"The flight range [of flies] is from 2 to 20 miles."

The USDA's Agricultural Research Services ("ARS") reported that 45% to 50% of flies in poultry houses will become infected with Salmonella within 48 hours after their exposure to foods contaminated with Salmonella.  They also found that Salmonella-free chickens that ate flies infected with Salmonella, those chickens will become infected with Salmonella.

The American Association of Avian Pathologists reported that houseflies can become infected with H5N1 (ie. Avian Influenza) from infectious foods that they eat, and those infected flies can subsequently infect chickens with the flies' Bird Flu viral infection.

Iowa State University reports:

AIV is excreted primarily through the feces and to a lesser extent by secretions from the nose and mouth. This virus can survive in water for many days. In feces, it can survive for 30 to 35 days at 4 degrees C (39.2 F) and for seven days at 20  degrees C (68 F). Avian influenza viruses in liquid manure have been shown to remain viable for 105 days during the winter.  Avian influenza virus can be transmitted to a lesser degree by nasal and respiratory tract excretions. Low pathogenic AI replicates especially well in the upper respiratory tract.

"Humans are the primary spreaders of AIV between flocks.  Feces and respiratory secretions containing potentially millions of avian influenza virus particles are carried to different locations by contaminated people (clothing, footware and hands) and contaminated equipment. Flock owners should not share equipment, such as that used for manure handling, bird catching, vaccination, loading or transport.
Equipment contaminated by feces and respiratory secretions containing AI viruses can readily transmit the disease. Potential carriers include truck, pick-up and car tires on vehicles driven by feed delivery, live-haul to processing plants, flock owners, farm workers,  utility (electricity, water) workers, catching crews, vaccination crews, artificial insemination crews (turkeys), servicemen, manure applicators or veterinarians. Fecal dust containing virus particles and contaminated feathers may be disseminated by air currents. Careful disposal of manure and dead birds is critical."
 If 85% of the Bird Flu infections are in commercial CAFO chicken factories, it seems they are self-inflicting the damage unto themselves.  However, when they self-infect themselves, the also put us, the innocent public and neighbours at risk too, then send us the bill for their carelessness (see below).

Chicken Mafia Playing Russian Roulette with the lives of Canadians

World Health Organization reports:
"The overriding concern with respect to the HPAI H5N1 virus is that it may change into a form that is highly infectious for humans and that spreads easily from person to person. This could mark the start of a global outbreak or pandemic. No one will have immunity to the virus, as no one will have been exposed to it or developed antibodies. No vaccine with guaranteed efficacy can be prepared in advance of such an outbreak, because the causative virus does not yet exist. Potential vaccines are being prepared and stockpiled in advance, in the hopes that they may match a pandemic strain."
WHO also reports a total of 826 cases of confirmed Avian Flu in humans (from 2003 to Mar. 31, 2015), with 440 fatalities (53.3% fatality rate); about the same mortality rate as Ebola.

If you were concerned about Ebola outbreaks way over in remote Africa, perhaps you should be more concerned about Avian Flu outbreaks in a CAFO chicken factory near you.

 The Farlex Encyclopaedia states:
"In 2003, world-renowned virologist Robert G. Webster published an article titled "The world is teetering on the edge of a pandemic that could kill a large fraction of the human population" in American Scientist. He called for adequate resources to fight what he sees as a major world threat to possibly billions of lives. On September 29, 2005, David Nabarro, the newly appointed Senior United Nations System Coordinator for Avian and Human Influenza, warned the world that an outbreak of avian influenza could kill anywhere between 5 million and 150 million people.  Experts have identified key events (creating new clades, infecting new species, spreading to new areas) marking the progression of an avian flu virus towards becoming pandemic, and many of those key events have occurred more rapidly than expected.

Due to the high lethality and virulence of HPAI A(H5N1), its endemic presence, its increasingly large host reservoir, and its significant ongoing mutations, the H5N1 virus is the world's largest current pandemic threat, and billions of dollars are being spent researching H5N1 and preparing for a potential influenza pandemic."
Swayne & Suarez of the USDA Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory in Athens Georgia USA says the greatest risk from Bird Flu is from "the recombination of the AI virus with human-adapted influenza viruses that would lead to an antigenic shift and emergence of an influenza virus which could cause a pandemic in humans."

What that means is, the more times we test our fate, the closer we get to the pandemic human version of Bird Flu, which will kill millions of people.

Bird Flu strain H5N1 is similar to the influenza that infected 500 million people, and killed up to 100 million people in the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic.  That deadly outbreak in 1918 had a Basic Reproduction Rate estimated between 2 to 3 (ie. every primary infection subsequently causes 2 to 3 additional infections in secondary victims).

In a 2006 outbreak in Romania of HPAI (Type H5N1), scientists estimated the Basic Reproduction Rate ("BPR") for this virus to be between 1.95 to 2.68 (a geometric average value of 2.23).  Note the similarity between the BPR for Bird Flu, and the killer 1918 Spanish Flu.

Since its hard to hide a >95% death rate in your chicken factory farm, it is likely that CFIA will soon find out about every HPAI event, and order a 100% cull and sanitizing of the entire farm.  This will minimize the risk of an antigenic shift (ie. two or more different viruses inside a host that share & swap their genetic material to create a deadly hybrid).

The MPAI (Mild Pathogenic Avian Influenza) version, however, will make the birds feel sick, but most will survive.  The MPAI type of Bird Flu could be hidden, due to fear or convenience.  That means that the infection can become endemic, traveling around and around among the CAFO staff and back to a new barn, then to a new flock, and so on.  If there is mixed farming (ie. beef, pork, sheep, goat, etc.) on the same farm or nearby, the genetic material resources and the available combinations becomes almost unlimited.  With greater residence time for the MPAI infection, the risk climbs exponentially for an antigenic event to occur.

Whether HPAI or MPAI, either way, if this scenario is repeated enough times, in enough chicken factories (likely occurs with layers, or possibly broilers), it will eventually create the killer strain.

Once the killer strain is created, a CAFO employee will get infected with that killer hybrid, or the virus will be blown downwind to a neighbour via the CAFO ventilation system.  Those sick people then spread it around during the 3 to 14 days when they are infectious but not yet bedridden.  Most influenza have 2 to 3 secondary victims for every primary victim.  That exponential growth rate causes the influenza to spread like wildfire. Soon after that, it's pandemic time!

Supply Management Bureaucracy Factor

The regulatory bodies in Canada are supposed to set adequate biosecurity standards.

These same regulatory bodies are supposed to audit each and every CAFO chicken factory to ensure they are compliant to those biosecurity standards.

Those regulatory bodies could force CAFO chicken factories to have sentinel systems inside of the chicken factory barns to detect breaches in their biosecurity systems (eg. fly traps, and the reporting of the number of flies found inside the barn on a daily or weekly basis).

Have these regulatory bodies done all or any of this on a competent and effective basis?  If yes, where is the objective proof of this?

Unfortunately, we get nothing but secrecy, rather than disclosure.

The prima facie evidence from the spread of the Bird Flu from one chicken factory to the next seems like proof positive that these regulatory agencies have failed miserably.

Hand wringing and pleading to be aware and fully compliant to ineffective, half baked standards won't help.

Not only are CAFO chicken factories a failure, the Supply Management bureaucracy is a failure.

We have simple technology called screened windows and screened doors.  Are they mandated, and audited to ensure they are used successfully?

Of course, this is just one simple example of how the system has failed all of us.  There are numerous other holes in CAFO's biosecurity systems.

Who Pays for All This?

Killing millions of infected birds has a huge cost.  Losing millions of dollars worth of chickens that die the day before you would have sold them is tragic.  However, the millionaire CAFO factory farmers are protected from most of these costs by insurance and/or government reimbursements for the incurred costs and lost profits.

In the 2015 Bird Flu outbreak in the US, the US government has paid $191 million in direct compensation to farmers for Bird Flu losses.  However, the total bill to the US government is estimated to be $700 million as of June 2015, and still climbing.

When Bird Flu strikes, consumers throughout Canada have the pleasure of receiving higher government taxes, and higher chicken prices.  Indirectly, some or all chicken farmers will have to pay higher insurance premiums, which get added to the factory farmers' COP (Cost of Production) that consumers are eventually forced to pay.

In other words, the consumers are the ultimate victims of Bird Flu; forced to pay for the CAFO factory farmer's recklessness & incompetency.

The consumers are forced to pay for the fossilized Supply Management bureaucracy that blunders on, allowing all of this to continue, decade after decade.


Based on this research, it seems safe to assume that CAFO chicken factories and the Supply Management bureaucracy in Canada are designed on the same principles as a screen door on a submarine; highly questionable technology.


  1. Is the author of this blog on drugs? What a bunch of non-logical garbage being spewed!

  2. Thanks for leaving us your opinion on this important issue. I am the author of this SFPFC Blog. No, I am not on drugs. The source of my evidence is referenced with html hyperlinks. You can click on the links and read them for yourself. I believe they are solid experts who know what they are talking about.

    If you have some specific facts that you would like to add to this topic, I welcome and encourage you to post them here in the comments.

    If you feel the references are solid, but I have extrapolated way beyond those facts, and thereby mis-used them, please state so and exactly where, and provide all of us with the better logic and better conclusion.

    If you disagree with my proposed mechanism for the pandemic spread of Bird Flu, please provide your best alternative and the evidence to back it up.

    If we don't hear back from you on these issues, I will assume you are satisfied, and have withdrawn your comment and complaint.

    Glenn Black
    Small Flock Poultry Farmers of Canada


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