30 Jul '15, 4pm

Avian flu is hammering hens — should poultry farmers get a bailout?

Avian flu is hammering hens — should poultry farmers get a bailout?

You may have noticed that the price of eggs has gone up. That’s partially due to the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza epidemic that decimated poultry farms across 15 U.S. states this spring. The death toll from the flu and culling has surged to over 48 million birds. The bulk were egg-laying hens, many concentrated in massive Iowa farms. One farm lost a staggering 5 million animals. Which made me wonder — has big poultry finally gotten too big for its own good? Michael Greger, director of public health and agriculture for the Humane Society for the United States, told me that big chicken houses are particularly vulnerable to disease. Greger singled out the caged laying-hen operations where chickens are densely stacked on top of each other as a particularly effective disease incubator. “We overcrowd millions of birds in these buildings. You stuff someone in an elevator and...

Full article: http://grist.org/article/avian-flu-is-hammering-hens-shou...

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