Get DirtyThe Pharmaceutical industry has brainwashed the orthodox medical profession into 'curing' so many 'symptoms' that this long term process has debased the immune system of a large part of the human race.
The poorer remains of the race are so malnourished and weakened that their immune systems are debased anyway.
The result of this process is the fact that many infections, such as avian flu, -- which would be thrown off by a normal strong immune system --- now cause pandemics.
BUT WE DID THIS TO OURSELVES!!.
The absurd fact in all of this is that many Drs now suggest that young children are allowed to mess about in the dirt and muck , in order to STRENGTHEN their immune systems!!.
So we do know the right thing to do. ELIMINATE PHARMECEUTICALS and STOP MESSING ABOUT WITH NATURE!.
If you normally make a point of buying free-range poultry and eggs, then you may be wondering if this is any longer a wise decision. The television reportage of bird flu, with its shots of men wearing white suits and masks chasing chickens in poor, rural Asian or African villages, or footage of chickens being slaughtered in third world markets while sinister-looking, positively Hitchcockian wild birds circle overhead, has helped build the perception that H5N1 is a disease of wild birds and domesticated poultry kept outdoors in primitive - and, by implication, dodgy - circumstances. On the home front, the nation is on amber alert. All the major summer agricultural shows have decided to abandon their customary displays of live poultry. The fear is that H5N1 is winging its way to Britain, and that if we don't get every last chicken, hen and budgie indoors, then it could mutate into a human flu pandemic and any minute we'll be dead.
A stream of statements and strategy documents from august bodies such as the World Health Organisation reinforce the 'wild birds and backyard poultry are the problem' plot-line. This must come as music to the ears of the intensive poultry producers, who heartily resent the good press that organic and free-range poultry generally receive. For once it is free-range birds that everyone is worried about, not the caged laying hens and tightly packed broiler birds that generally feature in food exposes.
But what if those august bodies have got it wrong? Multiple cracks are beginning to show in the supposed scientific consensus on the origins of avian flu. A growing number of non-governmental organisations, bird experts and independent vets are pointing the finger at the global intensive poultry industry. A new report from Grain, an international environmental organisation, challenges the official line. 'H5N1 is essentially a problem of industrial poultry practices,' it says. 'Its epicentre is the factory farms of China and south-east Asia. Although wild birds can carry the disease, at least for short distances, [the main infection] route is the highly self-regulated transnational poultry industry, which sends its products and wastes around the world through a multitude of channels.'
Grain's alternative theory for the emergence of H5N1 - which got backing in an editorial in the Lancet medical journal last month - starts with the observation that bird flu has coexisted pretty peacefully with wild birds, small-scale poultry farming and live markets for centuries without evolving into a more dangerous form of the disease. An explanation for this is that outdoor poultry flocks tend to be low-density, localised, and offer plenty of genetic diversity in breeding stock. By contrast, the hi-tech, intensive poultry farm, where as many as 40,000 birds can be kept in one shed and reared entirely indoors without ever seeing the light of day, is just like an overcrowded nursery of wheezy toddlers when the latest winter bug comes knocking - an ideal environment for spreading the disease and for encouraging the rapid mutation of a mild virus into a more pathogenic and highly transmissible strain, such as H5N1. 'What we are saying is that H5N1 is a poultry virus killing wild birds, not the other way around,' says Devlin Kuyek, from Grain.
The organisation's view is supported by the charity BirdLife International, which plots the migratory routes of wild birds. 'With few exceptions, there is a limited correlation between the pattern and timing of spread among domestic birds and wild bird migrations,' it says. It points out that most of the bird flu outbreaks in south-east Asian countries can be linked to the movements of poultry and poultry products. Looking at the outbreaks in Nigeria and Egypt, which occurred almost simultaneously in multiple large-scale poultry operations, it says that there is 'strong circumstantial evidence' that it was the transfer of infected material - straw, soil on vehicles, clothes or shoes - from one factory unit to another that spread H5N1 there, not wild birds.
To British animal welfare experts, this alternative theory makes a lot of sense. Intensive poultry farms, particularly those producing chicken meat or 'broilers', are notorious for rapidly spreading and amplifying diseases. Pathogenic bugs such as salmonella, campylobacter and Newcastle disease are already endemic among factory-farmed poultry. Half the British chickens on supermarket shelves tested by the Health Protection Agency in 2005 were contaminated with multi drug-resistant strains of the potentially deadly E coli bug. 'Broilers are particularly vulnerable to disease for many reasons,' says Dr Lesley Lambert, of Compassion in World Farming. 'The birds are genetically very similar because they have been bred to put on rapid muscle growth, however this compromises their immune, skeletal and respiratory systems. They stand on a thick cake of impacted litter and droppings, in close proximity to one another, and share the same warm air space. It's the perfect circumstances for disease to sweep through.'
But where, exactly, might H5N1 have originated? There is some speculation that the initial source was in China. The Washington Post has reported that as recently as the late 90s, in an unsuccessful attempt to keep the lid on less virulent strains of bird flu, intensive poultry farms in China were using, with the full approval of their government, an anti-viral drug called Amantadine. This drug is intended for humans and its use to treat birds would be a violation of international poultry regulations. Such misuse could have caused the avian flu virus to evolve into the drug-resistant H5N1 strain. In any event, medics and pharmaceutical experts now agree that Amantadine has become useless in protecting people in case of a worldwide bird flu epidemic.
But whatever the initial trigger was that caused bird blu to mutate into deadly H5N1, having once got a grip in an intensive poultry unit, how then might it have been spread outwards ?
Intense debate has built up over one particular mass outbreak last year among geese at Qinghai lake in northern China. The widely accepted official explanation is that migratory birds carried the virus westwards from there to Russia and Turkey. But according to BirdLife International's Dr Richard Thomas, no species migrates from Qinghai west to eastern Europe. 'The pattern of outbreaks follows major road and rail routes, not flyways,' he says. What Qinghai lake does have, however, is many surrounding intensive poultry farms whose 'poultry manure', a euphemism for what is scraped off the floor of factory farms - bird faeces, feathers and soiled litter - is used as feed and fertiliser in fish farms and fields around Qinghai. According to WHO, bird flu can survive in bird faeces for up to 35 days. Might it be that at Qinghai, H5N1 was passed from intensively reared birds to wild ones via chicken faeces, and not the other way around?
If so, then this is extremely worrying. In Britain, this February, the day after the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) minister Ben Bradshaw assured the public that the British poultry industry was 'very well prepared' for avian flu and had 'extremely high levels of biosecurity', the animal welfare organisation Animal Aid photographed tonnes of poultry-shed waste containing body parts and feathers that had been dumped on farm land in West Yorkshire.
When H5N1 turned up in a remote village in eastern Turkey in January, this was initially blamed on migratory birds. Then when villagers gave their side of the story, it emerged that their diseased birds were intimately connected with a large factory farm nearby. The UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has now acknowledged that the poultry trade spread H5N1 in Turkey, singling out the common practice of intensive poultry farms sending out huge truckloads of low-value (possibly ailing) birds to poor farmers. Yet when bird flu hit a factory farm in Nigeria in February, the FAO spokesman still insisted: 'If it's not wild birds [that are the cause], it will be difficult to understand.' The Nigerian authorities, on the other hand, blamed the poultry industry. It subsequently emerged that the hatching eggs used by the farm in question were not from registered hatcheries, and may have come from a bird flu-infected country, such as Turkey.
Worldwide, intensive poultry production has exploded and this growth seems to be mirrored by an increase in avian flu. In the south-east Asian countries where most of the H5N1 outbreaks are concentrated - Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam - production has jumped eightfold in just three decades as cheap chicken meat has become an international commodity. Conversely, certain other countries in Asia, such as Laos, have experienced relatively few bird flu outbreaks. In Laos, H5N1 has been restricted mainly to the country's few factory farms. Laos effectively stamped out bird flu by closing the border to poultry from Thailand and culling chickens in commercial operations. 'Laos is rife with free-ranging chickens mixing with ducks, quail, turkeys and wild birds. The principal reason why it has not suffered widespread bird flu outbreaks is that there is ¬almost no contact between its small-scale poultry farms which produce nearly all of its ¬domestic supply, and its commercial factory farms, which are integrated with foreign poultry companies,' says Kuyek.
Despite all the evidence now emerging that wild birds may not be the prime carrier of H5N1, governments are panicking. In Europe alone, Austria, France, Germany, Sweden, Slovenia, Croatia, Norway and the Netherlands have all issued bans or restrictions on the keeping of outdoor poultry. So far in Britain the government has not joined this stampede, probably because British consumers are particularly keen on free-range poultry products. When it comes to eggs, for example, we now consume more that come from free-range systems than from cages.
Farmers who cater for the nation's growing appetite for high-welfare poultry and eggs are worried, however. Some free-range and organic producers hope they might be able to bring birds indoor yet benefit from a European Union rule that would allow them still to sell their produce as free-range or organic, for a period of up to 12 weeks. Others are against taking advantage of this. 'If you keep birds entirely indoors, they simply stop being free-range or organic,' says Lawrence Woodward, director of Elm Farm Research Centre. Certainly, it is clear that temporary housing of free-range or organic birds can never be anything other than a stop-gap measure, because if H5N1 hits Britain, scientists think it will be endemic for at least five years.
Once N5N1 is identified in the UK, the solution preferred by the government's chief scientist, Professor David King, is to ban outdoor production. But environmental organisations insist that this would be an enormous mistake. 'Bringing birds indoors fails to address the root cause of disease. The government should support farming that encourages animal health, so that livestock have naturally robust immune systems developed by contact with, rather than exclusion from, all disease challenge. Organic and free-range systems are the foundation stones for such a positive strategy, not, as some in the intensive industry seek to misrepresent them, as reservoirs of disease,' says Soil Association spokesman Robin Maynard.
Professor King has made it abundantly clear, however, that in his view, the arrival of this virus would mean that 'organic farming and free-range farming would come to an end'. From an administrative point of view, keeping the nation's birds under lock and key makes any potential cull easy - no running around farmyards needed. Chillingly, Defra has stated that in the event of an H5N1 outbreak among indoor flocks, producers will be allowed simply to shut down the ventilation systems to sheds so that the birds slowly suffocate to death.
An alternative strategy, advocated by animal welfare groups, is vaccination. But such measures make less sense to cost-conscious intensive poultry producers. Broiler (chicken meat) producers in particular are under constant pressure to minimise costs in order to stay profitable because retailers demand cheap meat. Vaccination adds to production costs and means more work. And while it is relatively easy for organic or free-range producers to vaccinate their birds because their flocks are smaller, it is a daunting undertaking for intensive producers with flocks of thousands. Moreover, the vaccine takes two weeks to take effect and the typical broiler lives for only five weeks anyway, so they do not see the point.
Unless the vaccination lobby prevails - and going on Britain's track record with foot and mouth disease, the odds are not promising - then consumers may lose the option of choosing more ethical and humane outdoor-reared poultry products. So if you are are partial to a crisply roasted free-range chicken, or a nice organic egg, make a point of savouring them now while you can. They may not be around for much longer.
walkin on 2006-06-07
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