The earliest form of H5N1 was discovered in Scotland in 1959, where it killed off a couple of flocks of poultry. That’s the thing, H5N1 bird flu seems to target domesticated birds, poultry, not wild birds.
Since 1959 H5N1 has mutated into more than 700 versions (depending on your source), and the main target is still domesticated poultry. In some U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention studies, it was noted that many wild birds who died from H5N1 became infected after eating chicken feed!
By 2008 global health officials felt secure, because vaccines against several types of H5N1 had been developed and seem to be working. But now, just two months into 2012 and several Asian countries are dealing with epidemic sized outbreaks, killing tens of thousands of poultry, and at least two people in Vietnam.
In regards to Vietnam, back in the summer of 2011, Vietnamese health officials stopped their vaccination program. They discovered it wasn’t working, due to the fact that they were dealing with a completely new version of H5N1!
I noticed that part of the culling of poultry involves the feed itself.
Some bloggers have posted stories and pics of catfish farms in Jakarta and Java, that regularly feed dead chickens, chicken manure and chicken feed to their catfish! The bloggers’ concern is over the spread of H5N1 from the chickens through the catfish to humans who eat the catfish. There is apparently no health organization in the world investigating this. Health officials do say that cooking the food long enough will kill the virus.
Since H5N1 spreads only through domesticated poultry, how in the hell does it get from Scotland, all the way ’round the world to Asia? Poultry products are normally eaten in the country that produces them. Apparently wild birds don’t get too far once they get infected (it makes you wounder why health officials seem to be so concerned over migratory birds).
Here’s another problem, H5N1 doesn’t spread well in the air, so it’s hard to get it from someone coughing or sneezing. The World Health Organization has postulated that humans get it from being in very close contact with poultry. It might be kicked up in the dust as they walk, or it actually sticks to something that the human brings near their face, or it gets into cuts on the skin.
So how is it spreading so fast and so intensely? Vietnam admits that their latest outbreak is due to a new version of H5N1, and, poultry being brought into their country illegally. They don’t know where the domesticated birds came from!
Australia does not have a problem with H5N1 cases. But it’s not because Australia shoots down all the migratory wild birds, it’s because they have a strict quarantine policy on importing domesticated birds! (and another very important reason you’ll read at the end of this article)
Again, it’s domesticated birds, mainly poultry that’re the target of H5N1.
As an example of how concerned some governments are getting over domesticated birds catching H5N1, in 2006 Germany went on a domesticated bird hunt, arbitrarily killing not only poultry, but pets like homing pigeons. Two German free range farmers, who had their entire uninfected flocks culled, killed themselves in protest. This brings up another issue; Germany used the H5N1 scare to shut down free range poultry farms, favoring the bigger corporate factory poultry farms!
What about the feed? Health officials say don’t let the feed and water get contaminated. But which really comes first? Since it’s been proven that the 1959 H5N1, and it’s subsequent hundreds of mutations specifically target domesticated poultry, then it’s not wild birds that’re contaminating the feed and water (as some governmental health organizations insist).
Health officials claim that the feed and water gets contaminated when an infected bird craps in it. That works if you don’t know where your getting your poultry from, like in Vietnam. But what about places that have created more rules like Hong Kong? Hong Kong is dealing with a new outbreak of H5N1, they know where the chickens came from; southern China. Yet China seems to be dealing mainly with human cases of H5N1. Two people died between December 2011, and January 2012, and one of them had no contact with birds of any kind.
I wonder if the guy who died without being around birds, got it from poultry feed? He was a bus driver, could have been transporting chicken feed.
A December 2011 Journal of Virology report said there was a direct link between human H5N1 cases and poultry markets. It is the first report to do so: “Among these 69 samples, we isolated a total of 12 highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza viruses from four of the six live bird markets….the genetic sequence of the environmental and corresponding human isolates was similar (with a sequence identity of greater than 99%), demonstrating a solid link between human infection and live poultry markets.”-Yuelong Shu, author of study
They also studied 38 human H5N1 cases and found they “…were consistent with those identified in poultry outbreaks or in live poultry markets.” In other words humans don’t get H5N1 from wild birds, they get it from poultry raised in close quarters (too bad Germany shut down their free range farmers).
Again, if wild birds are not the true source of the H5N1 virus, then how are the chickens getting it?
Check out this statement: “H5N1 is mainly spread by domestic poultry, both through the movements of infected birds and poultry products and through the use of infected poultry manure as fertilizer or feed.”
The use of manure as feed? The above quote might have originated with the United Nations’ World Health Organization, but it’s being used by many health organization and on medical information websites.
Yes indeed, crap is used in farm animal feed, like feed for cows: “Recycled animal waste, such as processed chicken manure and litter, has been used as a feed ingredient for almost 40 years [Mmmm, this was posted in 2001, and the first H5N1 case was in 1959, that’s 42 years, mmmm]. This animal waste contains large amounts of protein, fiber, and minerals, and has been deliberately mixed into animal feed for these nutrients. Generally, animal waste is used within the State where it is produced because the bulk and weight of the product makes interstate shipment uneconomical. Normally, this animal waste is used by small farmers and owners of beef and dairy herds as a winter supplement for mother cows and weaned calves.”-U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Center for Veterinary Medicine
In the United States most farm animal feed is augmented with chicken crap. But the FDA says strict rules are followed. It might explain why H5N1 isn’t a big deal in the U.S., yet (remember Mad Cow disease?). It could also explain why Asian countries are having such a bad time with H5N1. What are their regulations regarding the use of chicken crap in their chicken feed? Have they created a vicious cycle with unregulated chicken feed that’s full of infected chicken crap?
I wonder why Germany shut down their free range poultry farmers in favor of corporate factory farmers who feed their chickens their own crap? Is the chicken crap industry that powerful?
Oh, and what about Australia? It turns out that the real reason Australia is not having a problem with H5N1 is that chicken crap is banned from use as animal feed in Australia!!!
The Aussie law is called the Ruminant Feed Ban: “Farmers need to take precautions to ensure that poultry litter and poultry manure are not fed to any livestock species, and that poultry feed is not fed to ruminants [cows, goats, deers, ie plant eaters]. This is important both for guaranteeing the safety of our food and for ensuring that Australia can continue to demonstrate ongoing freedom from BSE [aka Mad Cow, hello!] for the protection of vital export markets for meat and livestock.”
It looks like the best way to avoid getting some form of H5N1 is to raise your own chickens, or support free range poultry farming, or move to Australia. Would you eat crap?
I looked and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.