Antibiotics are not in the news this morning. The news is that twenty million birds living in the dystopian hellish confinement of the US Food System have died recently, succumbing to the latest variety of avian flu, H5N2. Food Scientists are at a loss as to how the virus is being spread from airtight confinement to airtight confinement. Poultry workers are entering and exiting the chambers in full ebola-proof clothing, and yet the virus still gets in. All of the antibiotics that these birds have been fed have not, can not prevent this virus from killing the animals within two days of them getting exposed.
Read this article in the New York Times this morning. So far there is nothing to fear for humans from this disease, it is only affecting chickens and turkeys. We only need to fear poultry prices rising. Perhaps this blitz of natural wrath will make big chicken producers rethink their devotion to this unbelievably cruel way that we raise our meat animals. If these 20 million birds were spread out over a much greater food production system, like individual farms that allowed these animals to live naturally, this disease would have a much harder time claiming so many victims in such a short time. Disease may do what thousands of dedicated animal rights activists never could.
The authorities are preparing for the panic that may ensue if someone catches one of these viruses and dies. Still, officials, say, most Americans are in little danger. The overall risks pale compared with those posed by well-known mortal threats that elicit no panic: car crashes, bee stings, bathroom falls and so on.
Chicken confinement operations could find themselves soon to be the victims of scare-science like nuclear power plants. If they begin to be places were biohazards are born then no one will want one in their back yard. It won’t matter at all that the likelihood of disaster is vanishingly rare. It won’t matter that the diseases born of this kind of unnatural lifestyle for these animals becoming deadly to us is less than one in a million. If it ever happens, then it CAN happen, and here in the US, that is all that matters. The news won’t be able to stop itself from amplifying the unreasonable fear. Just like the silly display they put on for the possibility of an upcoming blizzard, they will do all they can to get you to watch the news, so that they can increase their ratings. In the meantime, they are killing an industry, or helping to kill it at least. I see disaster on the immediate horizon for confinement food operations.
In related news, Panera Bread has posted a list of ingredients you will not find in their food offerings. The “No-No List” could be ten thousand ingredients long, if they were going to get rid of all artificial ingredients. They won’t. I can say they won’t because I see Lard on the list. Lard is not an artificial ingredient. It is a natural animal fat. However, if you are making something with a crust it is essential. If you don’t use lard you have to use an imitation animal fat, like partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, or a trans-fat, or some as-yet uninvented unnatural fat that will reproduce the effects of fats combining with oils in the bread making operation. Unnatural fats have unexpected consequences in the body. We have already, after 40 years of use, found that the trans fats in margarine and shortening were causing heart disease. Really. If Panera would put lard back in their foods I would feel better about the No-No List.