This morning over a million birds will be slaughtered in Hong Kong after an outbreak of ‘bird flu’. If these numbers shock you then perhaps they shouldn’t given that around 20,000 animals are killed every minute for their meat (not including fish). Epidemics like these only come about when such an unnatural number of birds are kept together in such unnatural conditions. As always, it’s the animals that pay the highest price. It is thought that this particular strain of bird flu wouldn’t affect humans anyway. This mass slaughter is precautionary…
This year’s badger cull in the UK, the selective slaughter programme to try and eradicate BSE in 2001…. what will it take for us to stop farming these animals in such large numbers, keeping them in such unnatural conditions and transporting them such unnatural distances? It’s all just so depressing when the whole thing is so easily avoided. Just stop eating animals!
Here’s what the BBC News has to say today:
The Hong Kong authorities have ordered the slaughter of virtually all poultry in the territory to prevent the further spread of an outbreak of a disease known as “bird flu”.
Imports of poultry from the rest of China are also to be suspended. Environment and Food Secretary Lily Yam said 1.2 million birds would be slaughtered.
But she added that the virus was different to the 1997 strain, which killed six people, and would not affect humans.
The precautionary slaughter of 4,500 chickens began on Wednesday.
The infection is a new and highly virulent strain of avian flu.
In the first 24 hours, it killed almost 800 chickens, kept in cages in three separate markets.
Now all the chickens, ducks, geese and quail in the territory’s markets, along with all mature poultry on its farms, will be slaughtered at a cost of over $10m.
Since Wednesday, the disease has been discovered in 10 different places.
And demand for chickens in the territory has dropped dramatically, with scared consumers switching to other meats or vegetables.
Hong Kong consumes about 100,000 fresh chickens a day, and imports 70% of its poultry from China.
The appearance of the H5N1 virus in Hong Kong in humans in 1997 prompted fears of a worldwide epidemic.
And a 1998 study showed similarities between the virus and Spanish flu, an outbreak of which killed between 20 and 40 million people in 1918.
A less serious strain infected two children in 1999, and there were unconfirmed reports of further cases in China’s southern provinces.
Most bird flu viruses do not replicate efficiently in humans.