First, news out of India that shows that a number of people have died from complications of bird flu:
Nine poultry farmers from across India have killed themselves and many more face a grim future after the scare of bird flu wipes out demand for chicken in the country.
India has culled hundreds of thousands of chickens to contain several outbreaks of the H5N1 avian flu virus among poultry since February 2006. But the disease continues to resurface, mostly in the state of Maharashtra.
The bird flu scare has decimated the country’s US$ 7.8 billion poultry industry, which claims that losses in the past two months have reached US$ 2.2 billion, or Rs 8,000 crore. “Nine farmers have committed suicide after their businesses suffered huge losses,” says O P Singh, member of the National Egg Coordination Committee (NECC).
In the last 15 days, suicides have been reported from West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, the last state being the epicentre of the bird flu outbreak in India. “These are cases reported from areas close to cities and towns. One does not know how many more such cases in remote villages have gone unreported,” the NECC says in a press release.
But wait! There’s more. Here in the US it’s going to be deadly too, perhaps not just to chickens, but to some of our own farmer’s businesses. At least American farmers will be compensated for the value of the dead chickens, although it might hard to compete with corporate poultry farms thereafter. I suspect when this business is over that a good many small farmers will be out of the chicken business forever.
Free-ranging chickens and small, backyard flocks will be at greatest risk if deadly bird flu reaches the United States, officials said yesterday. They also said they would begin killing off flocks large or small if they are suspected of having the virus — even before tests are completed.Posted by Buck Batard at April 20, 2006 02:57 PM