The Deadly Cost of Avian Flu   
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The images in the following program are highly sensitive and may be as disturbing to viewers as they were to us. However, we have to show the truth about cruelty to animals, praying that you will help to stop it.

Concerned viewers, today on Stop Animal Cruelty we’ll hear from Joyce D’Silva, Director of Public Affairs for Compassion in World Farming, Bernard Vallat, Director General of the World Organization of Animal Health and Dr. Michael Greger of the Humane Society of the United States about the devastating effects of avian flu, also known as bird flu and its connection to animal exploitation.

The origin of the feared avian flu of today was mild viruses carried in the intestines of wild, aquatic birds such as ducks and shore birds. However, these viruses have jumped to domestic birds and even other species, becoming extremely virulent and deadly in the process and more easily transmitted to humans.

Initial symptoms of bird flu include high fever, coughing, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, chest pain and bleeding from the nose and gums. Experts say that the most potent breeding grounds for this exceedingly contagious disease are squalid, manure-ridden, highly polluted factory farms.

Those animals are living lives of absolute misery. We think that avian flu likes nothing better than a factory farm. Because if you get, say, 20,000, 30,000 chickens in a factory farm shed, which that’s how most chickens are kept in the world, sadly, the virus will, once it gets there, spread from chicken to chicken. But each time it moves from one chicken to the other, it’s a chance for it to mutate and change.

And so by having thousands of animals in the shed, that produces millions of opportunities for the virus to hop backwards and forwards and to mutate. So when you get more virulent strains like the high pathogenic avian influenza, it’s very likely that it arose in a factory farm. If it didn’t start at a factory farm, it certainly has been helped to spread by having so many factory farms around.

And not just the factory farms but all the trafficking in chickens, in live chickens and in chicken meat, people going in and out of the factory farms, the virus has all sorts of opportunistic ways to spread. So, yes, some avian flu can be spread by wild birds who’ve lived with kind of a low-pathogenic variety for a long time, and it could be spread by chickens anywhere, even in a free-range farm. But the factory farm is the kind of pressure cooker which provides the ideal conditions for the virus to spread and grow.

The first human death from the most lethal strain of avian flu, called H5N1, occurred in Hong Kong in 1997. To halt the spread of the disease, all domestic fowl in the region, estimated to be over 1.5-million birds, were murdered in three days. Despite this gruesome act, the virus re-surfaced in Hong Kong in 2003, and spread throughout Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

I think the high level of avian flu and those kinds of things inside East Asia is related to the huge growth of factory farming of chickens in that area. These countries have increased their chicken production 700% in 10 years. So it’s completely changing the face of chicken farming in those countries. And you’ve got a lot more deadly disease.

Massive, poorly ventilated and dimly lit warehouses imprison tens of thousands of birds, jammed tightly together. The air is filled with eye-burning toxic ammonia gas rising from the feces-covered floor. In addition to these sickening conditions, the birds are specially bred to grow quickly which severely jeopardizes their health.

Well, let’s look at the animals in the chicken farm first of all. We have literally many billions of chickens in the world that are being reared for meat. And they’re called broiler chickens. And they’re being bred to grow so fast now, they’re growing at twice, at least twice the natural rate. So because they’re being made to grow so fast, and that’s done for economic reasons, you get more chickens through per month and per year, and their immune systems have become compromised.

And so they are more vulnerable to disease in the first place. So when they do get a disease, they’re more likely to get it badly. Now, when they get the high pathogenic variety, the chances are it will spread from the lungs to all over the body. So they will become infected all over and probably die within a few days.

Vaccines against several strains of the H5N1 influenza virus have been developed, however the viruses that cause avian flu are extremely complex, with many subtypes, making vaccination for either humans or animals difficult and unreliable.

Avian flu is even more complicated. Foot-and-mouth disease has seven different viral strains with different vaccines. For avian flu there are hundreds of them. And so, there are avian flu viruses that have a very ordinary effect, very minor in birds and have no effect in humans.

And there are others that appear from time to time and could be dangerous for the animals and humans. So it is like the lottery, where from time to time you get the numbers and it happens to be the winning combination for the viruses, since they become very powerful, and which is the losing combination for the birds and humans.

And this is what happened in 2003, since the so-called H5N1 appeared in Thailand, Âu Lạc (Vietnam), China, and which came to Europe through Siberia, which got to Western Europe, which attacked Africa, the Middle East and therefore killed hundreds of millions of birds and killed 200 or 250 people in the world.

Wherever the avian flu virus is discovered, thousands to millions of helpless, innocent birds are brutally slaughtered. The animals may be literally buried alive in pits, ruthlessly thrown into garbage bags to die slowly from suffocation, or murdered en masse in their sheds. Healthy or not, their lives are snuffed out in the name of supposedly containing the disease. However the killing is done, it is an act of sheer inhumanity.

Methods that have been tried are pumping gas into the chicken house, sealing it off and hermetically sealing it and slowly gassing the chickens, or putting them in big containers, like great big rubbish bins with lids on, and then pumping in a toxic gas.

The so-called solution to kill all birds once an infection is detected, is one devoid of all humanity and accomplishes nothing. Millions of birds have been massacred globally and deadly variations of the virus continue to surface around the world. In April 2011, South Africa killed 5,700 ostriches living in one ostrich factory farm, and more than 6.2-million chickens were murdered in South Korea in early 2011 in response to an outbreak.

Then something happened two years ago that was called swine flu at the beginning. This virus was a combination of many viruses. One came from birds, another came from pigs and the other came from a human. And they all combined by crossing each other, finding themselves in the same cell, and have created another new combination, which was extremely powerful, to contaminate humans and which has contaminated almost the whole planet. What seems to be happening is that there’s a kind of mix of flu viruses in the world.

With the swine flu that happened a couple of years ago, it had a mixture of human swine flu and a little bit of avian flu in it. So the viruses mix up together to create new varieties. And that new variety may particularly target pigs or particularly target poultry or particularly target humans. If the really virulent avian flu does get to infect people more easily, maybe it moves to infect higher up the respiratory tract. Then there could be a huge disaster for humans as well as for animals.

How can we end the threat of avian flu and other diseases that swiftly multiply on factory farms as well as the unconscionable exploitation of billions of animals? The answer is simple: choose a plant-based diet.

I think you have to look at the wider society and what society is eating and what society is promoting in terms of farming. If people are going to eat more meat, you’re going to have more factory farms. These are the hotbeds of infection. So that situation can only almost certainly make the disease situation worse. Already 75% of new infectious diseases in humans come from animals.

If you have higher meat consumption, a lot of that is going to be chicken, because it’s so mass produced. It’s cheap. And so you’re going to have more chicken factory farms more likely to produce this deadly strain of avian flu. So people may eat cheap chicken for 10 years and then die from avian flu.

In 2007, the Journal of the APHA, the American Public Health Association, published an editorial that went beyond just calling for a de-intensification of animal agriculture, the pork and poultry industries.

“It’s curious,” the editorial goes, “that changing the way humans treat animals, most basically ceasing to eat them, or at the very least radically limiting the quantity of them that is eaten, is largely off the radar as a significant preventive measure. Such a change, however, if sufficiently adopted or imposed, could still reduce the risk of the much feared influenza epidemic… Humanity does not even consider this option.”

The editorial concludes, “Those who consume animals not only harm those animals and endanger themselves, but they threaten the wellbeing of future generations. It’s time for humans to remove their heads from the sand and recognize the risk to themselves that can arise from their maltreatment of other species.”

Really think about where your food comes from, and think about the meat as something that’s come from a living, sentient being that has the capacity to suffer or the capacity to enjoy life. And just give that some good reflection when you go shopping.

This activity of killing animals for meat has grown to vast proportions in many parts of the world, outside of our eyes, causing immense suffering for countless animals, causing human diseases that include bird and swine flu, mad cow disease, etc., etc.

Stopping meat and dairy consumption and fishing, poultry – all the animal products – is the fastest and most effective way to cool our planet and halt these dangerous changes. And now that we also understand the immeasurable benefits for the organic vegan diet, we can simply step forward and implement this solution, which offers not only better personal health, but literally can save the entire planet, the entire world.

We pray that we soon see a vegan world in which all inhabitants live in peace and harmony.

For more information on ending factory farming, please visit the following websites:
Compassion In World Farming www.CIWF.org.uk
Humane Society of the United States www.HumaneSociety.org
Dr. Michael Greger www.DrGreger.org

Thank you for your presence today on our program. Next on Supreme Master Television is Enlightening Entertainment, after Noteworthy News. May all beings on Earth enjoy freedom, dignity and security.

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