‘Unprecedented’ Bird flu Outbreak Is Exacerbating ‘Cost Of Living Crisis’

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Bird flu outbreak

An ‘unprecedented’ bird flu outbreak has made the cost of living crisis even worse according to experts who warn that the number of poultry culled has almost doubled since last season.

According to figures from the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH), over 22 million cases have been reported in wild birds and poultry so far this season in 68 countries.

The information was shared exclusively with the Telegraph who also report that the figure is double the 11m recorded between October 2020 and September 2021, which itself was an all-time high.

Of course this couldn’t possibly have been expected or planned even….

The Telegraph reports: In an effort to curb the outbreak, 94.2m farmed poultry have been killed and disposed of, compared to 54.4m last season. Before 2020, the number of birds culled to stem the spread of avian flu worldwide has only topped 15m twice.

Experts say the surge – which comes amid a cost of living crisis and mounting food insecurity, triggered by war in Ukraine and extreme weather – has further disrupted supply chains, contributing to higher prices.

SOURCE: WORLD ORGANISATION FOR ANIMAL HEALTH

“This is a devastating situation from a market and supply perspective,” said Kathleen Liang, director of the Centre for Environmental Farming Systems in North Carolina.

“Remember that the chicken comes with the egg… the cost of both has definitely gone up due to bird flu, compounded by inflation and import/export challenges,” she added. “Bird flu is one of a combination of factors that is driving food insecurity.”

In the UK, which has also been hit by an “unprecedented” bird flu season, some restrictions to protect poultry and captive birds were lifted in May, but an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone remains in place – meaning bird keepers have to follow strict biosecurity measures. 

Professor Munir Iqbal, head of the Avian Influenza Virus group at the Pirbright Institute in Surrey, told the Telegraph that the risk to agriculture remains high due to ongoing spread in wild populations.

‘Constant threat’ for farmers

For example, at least 3,000 birds have died in the Farne Islands off the coast of Northumbria, according to the National Trust, in the worst disaster to hit its colonies in nearly 100 years. Meanwhile, the Scottish Government Agency NatureScot has advised 23 islands to halt visitors in a bid to limit the spread of bird flu.

“Farmers are in constant threat from a disease outbreak at any time,” said Prof Iqbal. “Even during the summer months, outbreaks with H5N1 [bird flu] are being reported… [which means] that the virus is prevailing in wild birds and being disseminated to poultry.”

“The cost of production is increasing due to both disease outbreaks and feed prices, [which affects] the livelihood of farmers as well as affordability for customers,” he added. “The price of both poultry meat and eggs has significantly increased in the UK and other countries.”

Prof Iqbal said the issue is unlikely to dissipate quickly, and there are mounting fears about what the next flu season could look like.

“[This has been an] unprecedented season for the level of avian flu infection,” Dr Christine Middlemiss, the UK’s chief veterinary officer, told BBC Radio Four on Tuesday. “We are really concerned about what the next autumn winter season will bring when the migrating birds return again.”

A Defra spokesperson added: “To date, 2.75 million birds have been culled in the UK, a small proportion of the 20 million birds produced each week by the poultry industry. The UK is experiencing its largest ever outbreak of bird flu, and our teams are working around-the-clock to support poultry keepers impacted by this terrible disease.”  

‘These issues are not going away’

Grady Ferguson, a senior research analyst at the data consultancy Gro Intelligence, said that while new cases have tapered off, the losses “will continue to impact its industry, potentially for years, as did the US’ 2014-15 losses of 50m birds”. 

“That was the worst animal health disaster in US history,” he said. “This year, the US has so far lost 40 million. More losses may begin in the fall as migratory birds – a major suspected [bird flu] spreader – head south for the winter.”

It is not clear what has driven the current surge, but experts say the scale of the rise means it is unlikely to reflect better surveillance – especially in poultry, where disease has always been closely tracked.

Instead, factors including a more transmissible strain, shifting migration patterns, rising contact between free range poultry and wild birds, climate change or an unexpected “influenza epizootic” have all been discussed.

24 Comments

  1. this is totally unexpected. shocking. unbelievable. not foreseen at all. inconceivable. totally unfortunate. definitely not on purpose. totally unavoidable. i never would have thought something like this could happen.

    • They did this in the great depression. Killed millions of farm animals while people starved. Federal Reserve bank.

      • Yes And ruined hundreds of farmers and bought the land up by people Gates All done for the profit of the rich.

    • Apart from bird flu and foot and mouth disease sweeping Indonesia, and the aussie government REFUSING to stop tourism to bali, which every aussie and his dog does as routinely as going to the loo, despite them being perfectly well aware of the threat to Australian farmers, there’s also massive fires, started by the government, sweeping out of control across the blood of christ mountain ranges Right where Epstein ranch was a d next door to one of apples biggest backers, Singleton, whose ranch is the 5 th largest in America, a d all the neighbours are like Nygard the pedo, and the Hollywood ranch of a fashion designer and all that sort of crowd, all on it together. A d the government’s burning all their calfs and cows absolutely massively and its not being reported honestly. Not at all.

      • I was looking at ranches and I spotted 1 I liked in Montana, I think it was, anyway its like one if the best there and it’s very appealing, but then I looked at the geography and the entire ranch is actually lying in what was before a massive river Massive, that agricultural sciences have diverted the water away to dams toake things better, of course. That river would have enough fish that there would be no need for cattle stations at all. Tonnes of fish and crusties and free for any fisherman So it’s gone But then I thought they’ll flood that place totally soon a d I understood why so many owners are suddenly wanting to cash in their farmlands and get the he’ll put and far away. And they’d be right too. A d then with the BLM bureau of land mamagement coming along with reparations anyone would be foolish to risk buying I to ranchs unless your totally one of the inner circle and set.Unless you know personally the richest people in your state don’t do it Sell. Take the money and run before it’s too late and your doing a fire sale too.

        • american farm lands are burned out and full of runoff and toxic weed and pest killers.The Ogallala aquifer is going dry and farm land NOT prime won`t BE SELLIBLE.Yea the states fight over river flows BUT no snow on the mountains means NO river flow anyway.WE will be pumping in salt removed sea water soon on a national scale or we will turn back into sand like we were before

  2. We should be told how many of those 22 million birds were actually TESTED and how many of the ones tested were POSITIVE for Bird Flu. We should also know how many of those 22 MILLION birds DIED of Bird Flu and how many of those 22 million birds were CULLED (KILLED). People and the farmers have a right to know because they are the ones that suffer from this.

  3. It is seasonal and happens every few years.livestock chickens raised in large number in closed buildings without natural SUN light and zero range die from it every year.But food stock chickens grow so fast it does`nt stop or even slow production much at all.Free wild birds are dieing from weather stress Heat and UV at record rates.But I have`nt seen ANY dieing from bird flu in 2022 and we have 100,000s of them here in florida

    • 5g would be killing lots of things and damaging dna of plants animals etc. Course they won’t admit it till after the damages done and they’ve made trillions from looking for cures for diseases from unknown causes. .Vaccines do lots of harm Always hqve caused lots of health issues. As my Dr said to me years ago, when still a young man about 28 every medication has side effects. He had side effects a few years later to a medication which he then died from aged about 34.He owned 10 houses, his surgery and his own pathology lab. He died and left in a box in a nice shirt and tie.

  4. Live stock raised in un-natural settings get all kinds of ill`s.Layer chickens that produce eggs would the main problem,But broiler chickens grow so fast that the bird flu does`nt stop or end production at all.Wild birds here in florida are having a great year even with the UV whiteout heat and seem to be having more offspring not less!.

    • Just like humans raised in cities. Almost all dideases are spread from the battery human farming containers called cities.

  5. Chicken livestock heat stressed will get the bird flu first as the hen house egg producers overstock and overheat their livestock mean`s DEAD LIVESTOCK same as always before.But fast grow range broiler`s will be around for a long long time as that stock is what MOST of the world eats as far as meat goes

  6. The Bird Flu, another of Washington’s laboratory viruses, along with the Swine Flu and AIDS too.

    People don’t know the level of evil that’s in Washington D.C.

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